While you may be familiar with multiple replication products and vendors, don’t confuse the technology of data or server replication with Disaster Recovery.
Replication is not a disaster recovery solution nor does it provide business continuity. So what exactly is replication? According to TechTarget, replication is the process of copying data from one location to another over a SAN, LAN or local WAN. This provides you with multiple up-to-date copies of your data. Look at replication as an aspect of DR/BC. Although it is a key technology in order to implement a complete DR/BC plan, it needs to be combined with data deduplication, virtual servers or even the cloud. But let’s take a step back to really understand business continuity.
According to ESG Sr. Analyst Jason Buffington, “business continuity is ensuring that your IT and business processes continue, involving availability technologies as well as mitigation methods, etc.” Ultimately, your entire IT infrastructure needs to be up and running in order to assure that your employees can continue working during any disaster or IT outage. While you need to protect your data, just as importantly, you need to protect and keep your applications up. Having survivable data does not equate to disaster recovery. “Business continuity and disaster recovery is more about people and process than it is about the data,” according to Buffington. By combining appropriate planning, IT orchestration and instrumentation with a surviving copy of your data, you then have a real BC/DR plan.
As Buffington points out, it’s typical for a vendor to be able to backup and replicate his or her virtual machines to another data center. Many of these vendors are even willing to turn the servers back on in case something goes wrong. However, unless all of the servers are all powered back up and in an exact order, it is still considered downtime. Not only does the order in which servers are spun up important, but making sure all the interconnected elements of your network (e.g. Active Directories, etc.) are also up and working is vital. What you need to look for is not just the ability to bring up individual or multiple servers, but rather be able to virtualize your entire LAN. The other aspect that is important to consider that may be forgotten around certain technology is that a proper Business Continuity program requires people and processes as well. All these elements combined will form the basis for your company resiliency plan.
So ask yourself, how resilient is your company? Do you have the right technology, the proper documentation, and executive sponsorship? You can easily find out with our guide to evaluating a company’s resiliency in the white paper, “The Disaster Recovery Maturity Framework” or by watching, “The Truth About Your Disaster Recovery Maturity Level.“