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Disaster Recovery: Is your virtual environment prepared?

Is it worth investing in Disaster Recovery?

Investing in HA and DR solutions will enable continuity of business, avoid a lot of stress and save you from the potential

What is disaster recovery?

According to Techopedia, “Disaster recovery in information technology is part of security planning and is developed in conjunction with a business continuity plan. Disaster recovery is a set of policies and procedures which focus on protecting an organization from any significant effects in case of a negative event, which may include cyberattacks, natural disasters or building or device failures. Disaster recovery helps in designing strategies that can restore hardware, applications and data quickly for business continuity”

This means that implementing DR requires a different approach for every organization, as each organization has its own mission-critical functions. Typically, some mission-critical functions run on or rely on IT infrastructure. Therefore, it is good to look at DR within the context of this (hosted) infrastructure; however, it should be part of business continuity planning as a whole.

Important questions to ask when you plan and design your mission-critical hosting infrastructure include:

  • How much time am I prepared to have my mission-critical functions unavailable (RTO)?
  • How much data am I prepared to lose, i.e. the time duration for which you will not be able to recover your data (RPO). For example, if you safely backup your data once a day, you can lose up to one day of data when a disaster happens.
  • How much money will it cost the organization (per hour) when the mission-critical services are not available? DR measures include prevention, detection and correction.

Disaster recovery Plan: What to cover?

Things to cover in the plan include:

  • People – Identify managers and staff responsible for business-critical systems and make sure they are trained for disaster recovery. They should have well-defined procedures for system backup and restoration. Also make sure you train a primary person and a backup person who can step in as needed. Also be sure that all the information you need for a successful recovery is completely documented, including passwords and other details people tend to keep secured or in their head.
  • Physical Locations – If there is a fire or a flood, your primary business location may become unusable. Depending on your business, you may want to have a backup location in mind, such as a warehouse or secondary office. You should have a backup location in mind, or have a backup strategy to set up virtual operations and telecommuting if it suits your operational model.
  • Technology – As part of your recovery plan, make sure you have a backup facility capable of sustaining baseline computer operations. Your fallback location needs to have the necessary power, air conditioning, and infrastructure to handle your temporary computer network. One way to alleviate many of these challenges is to use cloud resources. If you can offload business-critical computing and data storage to the cloud then you will only need a less robust IT infrastructure to access the cloud. Another great suggestion would be to test your DR technology at least twice a year to ensure your systems will work properly.
  • Data Backup – Business-critical data is your most important and irreplaceable asset. Be sure that you have all your data backed up safely and securely. For example, locking tape backups in a fireproof safe is fine if the safe is elsewhere. Again, cloud backup and recovery procedures are ideal for disaster recovery, and to be even more secure, consider keeping a mirror backup somewhere off-site. Also be sure that you are backing up data regularly.
  • Suppliers – As part of your disaster recovery plan, identify alternate suppliers who can provide critical systems such as hardware, power, networking, and replacement components. Work with these suppliers in advance to make sure they have the components you might need available, or accessible in a short period of time.

Disaster Recovery Solutions for Virtual Environments

1. VMware vSphere Replication


VMware vSphere Replication is a hypervisor-based, asynchronous replication solution for vSphere virtual machines. It is fully integrated with VMware vCenter Server and the vSphere Web Client. vSphere Replication delivers flexible, reliable and cost-efficient replication to enable data protection and disaster recovery for all virtual machines in your environment.
Use Cases:

Use Cases:

  • Data protection locally, within a single site
  • Disaster recovery and avoidance between two sites
  • Disaster recovery and avoidance to a service provider cloud
  • Data center migration

2. VMware Site Recovery Manager


VMware Site Recovery Manager is an automation software that integrates with an underlying replication technology to provide policy-based management, non-disruptive testing and automated orchestration of recovery plans. It is designed for virtual machines and scalable to manage all applications in a VMware vSphere® environment. To deliver flexibility and choice, it integrates natively with vSphere Replication™ and also supports a broad range of array-based replication solutions available from all major VMware storage partners. Site Recovery Manager natively leverages the benefits of VMware vSphere and can also take advantage of the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) architecture, integrating with other VMware solutions, such as VMware NSX(network virtualization) and VMware vSAN (software powering leading hyper-converged infrastructure solutions)

3. VMware vCloud Availability


The vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR solution provides replication and failover capabilities for VMware vCloud Director® workloads between organization virtual data centers (VDCs) at both the virtual machine (VM) and vApp levels.The service operates through a VMware Cloud Provider™, and each installation provides recovery for multiple VDC cloud environments.

4. Zerto Virtual Replication


Zerto Virtual Replication delivers IT resilience in a single platform for disaster recovery, data protection and workload mobility to, from or between multiple clouds. By combining continuous replication, automated orchestration and enterprise class scalability, the Zerto platform dramatically simplifies IT operations and increases business agility. This allows the flexibility to move workloads into, out of and between clouds, providing support for Azure, IBM Cloud, AWS, and 350+ cloud service providers. With Zerto Virtual Replication:• Achieve inter-cloud workload mobility and protection between Azure, IBM Cloud, AWS,and more • Failback, protect and recover production workloads out of Azure, IBM Cloud, AWS, vSphere, and Hyper-V • Replicate between Azure regions with complete intra-cloud replication and the ability to protect, recover and migrate workloads within Azure

5. VEEAM Availability Suite


Veeam® Availability Suite™ is Veeam’s flagship product, delivering Availability for ALL workloads — virtual, physical and cloud — from a single management console. It combines the backup, restore and replication capabilities of Veeam Backup & Replication™ with the advanced monitoring, reporting and capacity planning functionality of Veeam ONE™ to deliver Availability for the Always-On Enterprise™

6. Actifio Resiliency Director


Delivers the Following Benefits• One-click recovery for hundreds of VMs• Powerful recovery automation for virtual machines and virtual applications (vApps)• Site deployment in minutes• Complete resiliency solution for non-disruptive, automated test and recovery• Single-click recovery of complex, multi-application groups• Vertical orchestration across compute, network, storage• Consumer-Grade, browser-based user experience delivers an intuitive, point-and-click operation for managing data that translates into faster time to productivity.• Copy Data Virtualization: Based on Actifio’s patented Virtual Data Pipeline (VDP), globally De-duplicated object file system manages the application-aware copy data lifecycle across points in time.

7. CloudEndure Disaster Recovery


CloudEndure Disaster Recovery enables organizations to quickly and easily shift their disaster recovery strategy to public clouds, private clouds, or existing VMware-based data centers. CloudEndure’s Disaster Recovery solution utilizes block-level, Continuous Data Replication, which ensures that target machines are spun up in their most up-to-date state during a disaster or drill. Organizations can thereby consistently achieve sub-second Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs).

The Continuous Data Replication takes place in a low-cost “staging area,” which reduces compute and storage footprint to a minimum. In the event of a disaster, CloudEndure triggers an automated system conversion process (p2c/v2c/c2c) and a scalable orchestration engine that can spin up thousands of machines in the target infrastructure within minutes. This enables organizations to achieve Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) of minutes. Accordingly, CloudEndure’s Disaster Recovery solution provides the resilience of a warm standby solution at the low cost of a cold standby solution.CloudEndure Disaster Recovery supports recovery from all physical, virtual, and hybrid cloud infrastructure into AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), VMware, IBM Cloud, and OpenStack-based infrastructure

8. Carbonite Availability


Carbonite Availability uses patented replication technology to capture changes at the byte level and replicate them between any source and target environment: physical, virtual or cloud. First, the Carbonite technology is deployed to all the servers being protected. Through the management console, the target secondary environments are configured and replication begins with a seeding process. All data transmitted is encrypted using AES-256 encryption, and compressed using three tiers of bandwidth-saving mechanisms. Once the seeding is complete, the solution updates the target with any changes in real time. In the event of an outage, administrators can manually or automatically fail over users to the secondary server in minutes or seconds. The recovery point can be current, or systems can be reverted to an earlier point, before an error or infection occurred.

9. Veritas Resiliency


Veritas Resiliency Platform’s policy-based automation restores applications across dissimilar hypervisors, operating systems, storage arrays and cloud providers. It automates runbooks removing the complexity and risk that exists today as well as in the future.

With comprehensive automation that recovers data centers, multi-tier business services, individual applications or virtual machines, you can remove day-to-day worry knowing your business can move between on-premises and cloud with confidence.

10. Commvault Live Sync Replication


Live Sync can be used to create and maintain warm recovery sites for virtual machines running critical business applications. Live Sync offers the following benefits:

  • The impact on production servers is minimized because Live Sync uses backup data to create replicated virtual machines; backup captures virtual machine data in a single pass, and Live Sync runs on backup infrastructure.
  • Live Sync is hardware agnostic; there is no need to reproduce the original hardware environment at the recovery site.
  • The recovery time objective (RTO), the time interval between a service interruption and the restoration of services from the recovery site, is the time needed to power on the virtual machines at the recovery site. Automated validation and the ability to specify new network connections at the recovery site ensure that startup time is minimized.
  • The recovery point objective (RPO), the acceptable time interval within which virtual machine data must be recoverable, is determined by the frequency of backups.
  • Backup data can be copied to a remote location where Live Sync operations are performed; deduplication and compression reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred over the wide area network (WAN).

There are many other solutions in the market which offer similar functions and capabilities.

The important thing is to be prepared for a disaster and have a well documented procedure, have the right people and good solution implemented that helps you run your business without disruption.

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Disaster Recovery: Is your virtual environment prepared?
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