Datafort VN Care Lite review

£180
Price when reviewed

Moving IT services into virtualised environments can complicate disaster-recovery procedures, but Datafort’s VN Care cloud service aims to keep it simple. It focuses specifically on recovery of VMware and Hyper-V environments, and doesn’t provide file- and folder-recovery services.

Datafort VN Care Lite review

It’s designed for businesses that need full protection and minimal downtime in the event of a disaster. The VN Care Lite service on review here is aimed at SMBs, and the starting price covers one host system, two VMs and unlimited data.

It uses a local proxy service for cloud operations and to maintain a block reference database. For VN Care Lite, this is loaded on the host system as a lightweight VM – this is in contrast to the premium VN Care service, which uses an on-premises hardware appliance.

Other than this, VN Care is completely transparent. Datafort configures the service to your desired replication frequency and monitors the process for you. It replicates the entire virtualised environment, and if a VM fails, Datafort can fire up its cloud version for remote access. In the event of losing the entire host system or being unable to access your premises, Datafort can present your entire environment in the cloud and supply access via the preconfigured router, which comes as part of the package.

DataFort VN Care Lite review: testing

For testing, we employed a VMware ESXi Server 5.1 system, running a simulation of a typical business IT environment. We had three VMs, all running Windows Server 2012, with one acting as a primary domain controller; one hosting Exchange 2013; and the third providing terminal services.

DataFort VN Care Lite

For the initial replication, Datafort makes a local encrypted copy on removable media and uses this to create the first image in its data centre. Only deltas are then copied over the WAN, so subsequent job times will depend on the amount of changed data and the speed of your connection.

We opted for two replications per day, and we received advisory emails on completion of each one. Datafort monitors these, and on the rare occasion when a job failed, it was already looking into it before we’d even received our email notification.

For our first test, we deleted the terminal-services VM and called Datafort support. Within five minutes, it had the replicated VM ready and waiting in the cloud, and started a restore to our system at the same time. This was left to run overnight, but we suffered no loss of service during this time. When the VM was restored, Datafort brought it back online and applied the deltas from the cloud VM to bring it up to date.

Next, we powered down our Exchange VM and asked for cloud invocation. Using both Outlook and the Outlook Web App, users could access their mail, and weren’t aware that Exchange was being hosted in the cloud.
When our local VM was ready to go, Datafort applied the changes that had occurred since the last backup. The cloud VM remained online and accessible until Datafort had applied the final delta, and then we swapped back to the local VM with only a brief interruption to services.

DataFort VN Care Lite review: verdict

Datafort’s VN Care provides complete protection for your entire VMware or Hyper-V virtualised environment, and can be invoked in the cloud in an instant. Cloud disaster-recovery services don’t get any easier or more affordable than this.

Details

Software subcategory Backup software

Operating system support

Other operating system support Windows 8 and 8.1

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