In our last post, 4 Major Challenges with Traditional Disaster Recovery, we reviewed the challenges of “disaster recovery past”. However those aren’t just the challenges of the past, they are still the disaster recovery challenges faces by most companies today.
Thankfully new disaster recovery innovations are out there to solve these challenges. These innovations make disaster recovery faster, more efficient, more automated, and more affordable.
Great advances have been made in the area of data replication. Modern data replication solutions are able to replicate only to change blocks of a virtual machine disk in order to make the replication process much more efficient. What that means is that the amount of bandwidth that you’ll need to replicate your data from the primary data center to the secondary data center or public cloud is far less than what was needed in the past. With that, it also means you won’t have to spend as much on bandwidth between the data centers or between your primary data center and the cloud. The flipside is that you may be able to replicate many more votes machines are much more data than you were able to in the past, while spending the same amount of money on bandwidth.
Read more about Disaster Recover with this free solution brief, “Discover the Next Phase of Disaster Recovery”
More advancements around intelligent data replication include the ability to create groups of virtual machines and policies around individual or groups of virtual machines. The benefit of creating groups of virtual machines is to be able to easily replicate and recover all the working machines that make up a single application at one time. You’ll also be able to prioritize your applications for replication and recovery such that you can recover the most critical applications first. With the same policies, you can create policies that replicate more critical applications much more frequently, giving them a shorter RPO while giving less critical applications longer RPOs.
One of the great things about the latest DR solutions is that they have full insight into the virtual machine inventory, and as such, they are aware of virtual machines and application changes (to some degree). With insight into the environment, the DR solution can automatically update the disaster recovery plan, or runbook, in real time as applications or infrastructure are modified.
With the popularity and maturity of the public cloud, more enterprises are leveraging cloud storage for storing their archival data and backup data. The big benefit to using online public cloud storage as opposed to offline tape storage is that the data being protected can be constantly indexed and tested for recoverability.
With cloud storage, there’s no need to recall tapes, there’s no need to recover data, and you can be assured that the applications will function once you initiate the recovery. Additionally, data can be encrypted in the cloud so that you are confident of its security.
Once data is in the cloud, and your disaster recovery system is aware of the recovery process, you can configure automated testing such that application groups are actually recovered in a sandbox environment and test transactions are run through the protected virtual machines. This means you can be confident that recovery would be 100% successful. This type of automated testing can be scheduled once a quarter, once a month, once a week or even every night.
The latest disaster recovery solutions also offer a consumption-based pricing model such that there’s no large capital expenditure upfront to get started with DR. With the consumption- based pricing model, you simply pay for your DR system based on some level of consumption—this could be the number of virtual machines that you replicate or the amount of data that that’s being stored in the cloud.
Should you have a disaster, you might pay a relatively small charge to immediately bring up your applications running in the public cloud so that they’re accessible to your end users to allow you to continue business functions. Some disaster recovery providers don’t even have any cost associated with bringing up your production infrastructure in their public cloud.
Compare that to having to purchase your own secondary data center with fully redundant server storage and network equipment, network connectivity, and having to maintain that redundant data center indefinitely.
The new replication techniques that we talked about earlier allow for software-based replication between dissimilar hardware and still with approximately one-minute RPO, which allows you to meet some of the lowest RTOs that the business can ask for.
Not only are the RPO and RTO low, but, because automated testing has been done to the application level, you can be confident that critical applications will be recovered within a short RTO and that little to no data loss will occur. This is possible because the latest techniques allow you to have more frequent replications that are application-aware.
Not only can you use public cloud services to store your data offsite and bring up applications for “DIY DR” but there are many disaster recovery as a service, or DRaaS, providers who are wrapping up these disaster recovery innovations into a single service offering.
With DRaaS you can replicate data from your on-premises infrastructure to the DRaaS providers’ public cloud and use a web-based interface to manage your DR infrastructure. You could also use that interface to schedule automated testing and actually initiate recovery.
DRaaS providers typically charge using the same consumption-based model that we talked about earlier, meaning you don’t need a large capital expenditure to get started. You simply pay for what you use.
So, how do you go about implementing these new disaster recovery innovations? Read the next post in this series entitled How to Implement Next Generation Disaster Recovery.
Finally, if you need help updating any aspect of your company’s disaster recovery plan, or would like to begin the process of adopting a new DR plan, check out our Disaster Recovery Strategy Kickstart. Our expert consultants will be happy to help keep your company safe.
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