Disaster Recovery – Must Know Information

Disaster Recovery

Simply backing up files to the same server or running any sort of RAID ARRAY does not mean you’ve implemented a disaster recovery plan. A true, effective plan minimizes destruction when disaster does strike, and those plans can either be of the hot, warm or cold category (more about those later).

No one can predict the future, but it’s always best to be prepared, don’t you agree?

Disaster recovery solutions can encompass customers who host data within a data center, host data in-house or who host data with some other provider. Every type of plan has to anticipate and mitigate risks. The best plans include analysis and restoration aspects.

You can’t wait for disaster to happen!

In general terms, do you know if your systems are mirrored and at what frequency? Is it continuous? Daily? Every 48 hours? Just on weekends? You can never take anything for granted when it comes to your mission critical data.

You have entirely too much to lose!

One topic that I seem to see all too often on forums is complaints about how long it takes to restore data and get back online again. This is not something you want to learn of after the fact. How much production or revenue do you stand to lose if your operations are put on pause? This doesn’t even begin to address dealing with frustrated clients and the huge hit this can impose on your reputation.

Business continuity is paramount!

Don’t wait for the unthinkable! Plan ahead for any eventuality by designing processes that will immediately address and ensure restoration and continuity of your business. These can be of the hot, warm or cold variety.

  • Hot sites allow for immediate cutovers
    • Of the three types of plans, a hot site is proactive as production environments can be immediately cutover with a live site up and running in the event of a disaster. These failover in real time providing uninterruptible recoveries.
  • Warm sites are suitable for less critical recovery times
    • Essentially, warm disaster recovery plans provide for near-time recovery of data via a redundant configuration whereby data is periodically synchronized. That supports restoration based on aged data from the last sync.
  • Cold sites typically do not include mirroring of systems
    • Cold site disaster recovery plans are more suitable for data that is not mission critical and thus do not require 24/7 availability. More often than not, this would include space, power and network connectivity in a data center that would be available should disaster strike.

Get serious about disaster recovery planning

I know you’ve heard this many times, but if you fail to plan, you essentially plan to fail. You don’t have to write a couple of hundred pages in your plan. You just need a document, even if it is only one page long, that encompasses the information you’ll need to know in the event of a disaster.

Some things to consider:

  • Match your plan to reflect the same complexity and structure of your network.
  • Don’t overthink your content, rather write only the information needed to respond and recover.
  • Test your plan at least a couple of times each year, or more often if your network configuration changes frequently.
  • If you have multiple locations, it may be prudent to pursue consultation.

Designing a disaster recovery plan does not have to be hard

When we say that designing a plan shouldn’t be hard, that’s relative to the complexity of your network, the technologies you employ and its topology. Successful plans simply define step-by-step solutions on how to respond, and then validate those activities.


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