Even Virtualized Environments Need a Disaster Recovery Plan
Written by Michael Elliott
Disaster Recovery for virtualized environments are often overlooked, yet incredibly important component to securing your client’s applications and data. Large enterprises (think GE, P&G, Apple) with multiple data centers can easily implement DR by creating an active – active environment across multiple data centers. Traditional businesses with a single data center must explore alternative methods for building robust disaster recovery options. And if you are operating in a highly virtualized environment, this can get very complicated, and very expensive.
In a disaster, not all applications are built the same, just like all NBA teams are not built the same. If your team is built around Lebron James, you recognize the importance that one player has to your team i.e. your business. However, understanding which are the supporting players (apps) that surround the star is critical. In a true disaster, these are the players (apps) that can take you to the championship, or in application terms, ensure your client doesn’t go out of business. These are the applications that you need to ensure are a part of your disaster recovery plan.
Architecting, building and executing an off-site Disaster Recovery plan is expensive. Sourcing and provisioning a small 4U VMware environment has an average annual cost of $2400 – $14,400 (depending on area of the country). Add to this the cost of servers, VMware licensing, patching and maintenance cost, and you have an expensive DR site that sits idle 99% of the time.
For a cost-effective alternative to building your own Disaster Recovery site, consider Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) for your virtualized environment. DRaaS can cost a fraction of what a traditional disaster recovery data center and provide immediate spin up of your critical applications in the event of a disaster.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) /noun/:
The replication and hosting of your virtualized servers by a third party providing automated failover in the event of a man-made or natural disaster. This environment can be left in passive mode consuming less resources until need for an emergency or compliance testing.
So where do you begin in building your disaster recovery plan? Here are some items to consider in Building and Executing your DR Plan
- Manage your client’s infrastructure and applications like it was supporting your business. Most clients don’t understand the depth and breadth of which they are reliant on their application and data. You need to be the guardians of their data galaxy.
- Inventory your current infrastructure. The simple axiom here is to start at the beginning and make sure you know what you know, or more importantly, you discover that which you don’t know. There are many application dependencies that lay hidden until a true disaster strikes.
- Understand and document your applications and their dependencies. This understanding is crucial to building your Disaster Recovery plan. Not all applications need to be running during a crisis. Knowing and ensuring critical application to the business are in your DR site will ensure the survivability of your client’s business and create cost savings for excluding applications that aren’t necessary in the event of a disaster.
- Consider Disaster Recovery as a Service instead of building a complete DR site. A DR site sits idle until needed costing you both CapEx and OpEx. Choosing the right DRaaS for your virtualized environment maximizes your margins while reducing your operational overhead.
- Test your DR site on at minimum a quarterly basis. Don’t let a disaster highlight your oversights in disaster planning. If you’re not planning to fail, you’re failing to plan.
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Axcient Fusion takes the complexity of implementing a disaster recovery solution for you clients by orchestrating the failover of a group of virtual machines (VMs) from your primary data site into an automated DRaaS site. Priced at the per VM level, Axcient Fusion removes the complexity, CapEx and OpEx of operating an independent Disaster Recovery site allowing you to focus on your clients.
Michael Elliott is an accomplished product marketing executive with over 20 years of enterprise technology experience. As a marketer and thought leader, he has worked with companies globally on their business and marketing strategies with a focus on cloud solutions and sales growth. He is an accomplished writer and presenter and has been featured in Forbes, Information Management, Data Center Knowledge, and Software Development Times.