EMC RecoverPoint

EMC RecoverPoint – Architecture

RecoverPoint architecture consists of components such as RecoverPoint software, Appliance, write splitters etc. In this post I would like to give you a quick introduction to those components. To understand how RecoverPoint actually works first you have to understand all the small building-blocks of the RecoverPoint System.

RecoverPoint Appliance (RPA)

EMC RecoverPoint is appliance-based – which makes this solution highly scalable. RPA can be a physical appliance (RPA) or a virtualized RPA (vRPA).

Physical RPA

Physical RPA

RecoverPoint RPAs manage aspects of data protection and replication.


The virtual RPA is a purely software-based instance of the RPA appliance, and utilizes services on an existing ESX platform – vRPA requires no other hardware compontents beyond the ESX server cluster it is deployed on.


RPA (RecoverPoint Appliance) has dedicated Fibre Channel, WAN and LAN interfaces.

  • Fibre Channel is used for data exchange with local host applications and storage subsystems
  • WAN is used to transfer data to other RPAs
  • Management is used to manage the RecoverPoint System.

Array Based Write Splitter

RecoverPoint Write Splitter is used to split (duplicate) the writes. A write is sent first to the RecoverPoint appliance and then a duplicate is sent to the primary storage volume. It is important to understand that Write Splitter is Array-Based. It means that you don’t have to actually connect RecoverPoint Appliance between host and a Storage Array – instead a host is communicating with Storage Array directly, not even our of a RecoverPoint instance. Write Splitter is already built-in to the EMC VNX, VMAX, VPLEX storage systems.

RecoverPoint Cluster

A cluster of two or more active RPAs is deployed at each RecoverPoint Site. This provides high-availability – if one one RPA in a cluster fails, RecoverPoint immediately switches over to remaining RPA(s) in the cluster. RecoverPoint Clustes is a logical entity – a group of 2 to 8 physical (or virtual) RPAs that work together to replicate and protect data. Important fact: the number of RPAs in an RPA cluster must be the same at all RPA clustes in a RecoverPoint System. What is RecoverPoint System? Keep reading 🙂

RecoverPoint System

A RecoverPoint System is a logically single entity which replicates and protects data between all sites in one RecoverPoint installation. You can manage all RPAs through a floating cluster Management IP address. A system  is a set up to 5* interconnected RecoverPoint Clustes managed via a single RP management console. (*5 clusters for RecoverPoint/EX and RecoverPoint/CL licenses, RecoverPoint/SE supports up to 2 clusters).

RecoverPoint System of three RPA clusters.

RecoverPoint System of three RPA clusters.

The number of RPA clustes included in a RecoverPoint systems usually depends on how RecoverPoint is used (local protection only/ local and remote protection / remote protection only).

EMC RecoverPoint – Introduction

In todays post I would like to write few words about EMC RecoverPoint product. I will start with talking a little bit about data protection and data availability in general. Why is so? Let’s refresh it to better understand when RecoverPoint might be a useful tool in your environment.

Data Protection and Availability

I’m sure I don’t have to explain why Data Protection and Availability is important topic. Just imagine what would happen if you have data loss in your environment. But what are the ways we can secure from Data loss? Is the data loss the only concern? What about file-system corruption? Human errors? Disaster Recovery? Business continuity plan? Indeed – this topic cannot be covered by “make a back-up once a week”. On the other hand there is a financial problem. Most of data protection and availability solutions are pretty much expensive.

About RecoverPoint

EMC RecoverPoint in a nutshell is a block-level solution to provide local and remote replication. As a consequence it allows:

  • local data protection – for operational and application recovery needs. Continous data protection (CDP) – continously captures and stores data modifications and enables point-in-time recovery with no data loss.
  • remote data protection – for disaster recovery purposes. Continous remote replication (CRR) – supports sync and a-sync replication betwen remote sites over FC or WAN. With RecoverPoint a-sync replication provieds crash-consistent protection and recovery to a specific point-in-time (preferably very small RPO). With sync replication through FC – zero RPO.
  • mix of the both above – replication of data within the same site and to the remote site. Concurrent local and remote replication (CLR).
RecoverPoint Replication options

RecoverPoint Replication options

Besides use cases that I already mentioned, RecoverPoint can be used also to replicate data for isolated test and development purposes, or to replicate data during technology refresh. If you have EMC VPLEX in the environment you can even use Storage Arrays from different vendors (such as NetApp, HP or Hitachi). It is used for Operational Recovery – to protect data against errors or attacks – with CDP you can actually revert the image of the filesystem to the previous state which was healthy.

RecoverPoint System

RecoverPoint is quite complex system with many components included. I describe it with separate post- EMC RecoverPoint – Architecture.