Aug 20 2018

In the digital age, it’s vital for enterprises to have a robust disaster recovery plan to limit the costs associated with a disruption in business operations. From man-made ransomware attacks like WannaCry to hurricanes like Harvey and Irma, the last 12 months have taught us that we have to be adequately prepared to respond to both natural and man-made threats.

According to Allianz, this will be the “new normal” when it comes to natural weather events. The threats posed by bad actors along with human and hardware manufacturer errors (Spectre or Meltdown processor exploits) have also become a real concern. This makes it critical for businesses to develop a bulletproof disaster recovery plan that’s focused on business continuity.

Modern disaster recovery solutions have to be comprehensive and should aim to ensure that every department can operate with minimal impact during an active incident. This wasn’t possible with traditional disaster recovery plans that were centered around making a significant investment towards setting up IT infrastructure that mirrored the primary data center.

However, today, with virtualization, enterprises can now significantly reduce the requirements for redundant hardware, limit downtime, and reduce the costs associated with disaster recovery.

This makes virtualization key to developing effective data backup and data management protocols in enterprise disaster recovery solutions that offer multi-regional resilience (which can be critical during weather-related outages).

Why Virtualization Is Perfect for Disaster Recovery

If your data center is operating with traditional tape systems, it can take about a day or two to completely restore the system (depending on the size of the system and how much data is being stored). With virtualization, recovery time can be significantly reduced to just four hours or less to achieve full restoration.

This is possible because there won’t be any need to rebuild applications, operating systems, and servers because they exist elsewhere and can be quickly brought back online. However, to ensure continuity, these systems will need to be monitored regularly to ensure that it’s up to date.

Virtualization also makes testing your disaster recovery plan much easier because tests can be run on the virtual image of the system without ever affecting the production system. As a result, it will be a lot easier to achieve business continuity goals like Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs).

Access Failover and Failback Compatibility via Virtualization

Virtualization also comes with failover capability that enables the seamless switch over to a system or network, a redundant or standby server, upon the termination of an existing asset without any need for human intervention.

There’s also a failback option where digital assets that exist in a failover state can be switched back to its original state. This approach creates an opportunity to bring all systems back to a state of operation before it’s disrupted.

This is because you have the ability to failover to the environment that exists in real-time which makes it easy to failback to the original state. In this scenario as images of previous environments can be maintained in real-time, recovery speed times can be optimized.

An enterprise business continuity plan should also list the data recovery processes that are in place in great detail. Furthermore, storage administrators should also account for data protection and recovery granularity.

When it comes to virtualization, recovery can be challenging without valid and usable data backup. This means that virtualization alone doesn’t guarantee recoverability. So a data backup and data management agent must be installed on each virtual entity to get the best results.

Whether you choose to move forward with conventional backup agents or image-level backups, your bulletproof disaster recovery strategy must be crafted to be non-disruptive and to provide granular (file-level) restoration capabilities.

This can be easily achieved by taking advantage of third-party software tools designed to automate full and incremental image backups without disrupting the virtual server. This approach also enables seamless file-level restoration.

Developing a robust disaster recovery plan with virtualization at its core also has other benefits like reducing your equipment footprint in a data center, reducing the number of devices, and reducing enterprise power requirements.

If you’re still using disk or tape technologies, virtualization can still be accessed if it’s factored in during the planning stages. However, while developing a bulletproof disaster recovery plan, IT leaders should also take steps to address various issues that can come up when backing up critical data.

Running dynamic tests in a virtual environment will also help ascertain if your plan has covered all bases and is ready to be deployed during an active incident. This approach will also help justify the costs related to disaster recovery.

By reducing your enterprise footprint through virtualization, you can also significantly improve your chances of quickly recovering from any kind of emergency imaginable. As a result, it’s safe to conclude that virtualization not only enables companies to recover quickly and ensure business continuity but also save money across the board.

Partnering with a data management solution provider can ensure your disaster recovery plan is well-designed and cost-effective. Red8 has architected and implemented enterprise disaster recovery plans for top organization in data-intensive industries. Leverage this experience to bulletproof your plan today.

Take our no cost, Data Readiness Assessment and evaluate your organization’s current disaster recovery plan. Contact us today to set up your assessment.