Declare Disaster, Push Button, Drink Beer.
These are the exact words from a client who told me that his wish is for a new Disaster Recovery (DR) process for his company. Of course, he does do work for a very large brewery... so who can blame him!
For decades, the only method for protecting a company’s assets in the event of disaster was to have a duplicate set of hardware at another location. This would mean either their own or a colo facility and either employ very expensive replication technology to duplicate their environment or rely on offsite tape storage and restore to hardware that they owned or shared. Most of the time, they also required a location for their workers to go to with desks, computers, printers etc. This type of solution was just too expensive for most mid-size organizations to afford.
The proliferation of the cloud has been a boon to companies with Windows and Linux workloads. With great backup and replication technologies available for a fraction of the cost, and the ability to perform real-time replication of your apps and data to a landing zone for relatively little money, a solid DR plan can be initiated very quickly. Couple this with the connectivity most people have at home and the opportunity to have a resilient business can become a reality.
When a disaster occurs, a simple push of a button can duplicate the exact environment required to maintain operations extremely quickly. Since data has been replicated in real time, the Return to Operations (RTO) can be minutes, and the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) near zero. “Declare Disaster, Push Button, Drink Beer.”
Unfortunately, many companies are still working with applications running on legacy systems that for reasons IT cannot control, can’t be updated. Critical systems running older versions of AIX, Solaris, and even XenServer are the problem. These operating systems can’t be virtualized, and by nature are not cloud ready. Most of the time they are also no longer supported by the manufacturer. These systems require serious planning to make sure they can be brought back online within a reasonable time frame, and can be included in a hybrid DR scenario. There are a few companies who claim their platform can handle these operating environments using the same dashboard and interface used for protecting your Windows and Linux workloads. However most of the time, there is some very fine print around what is actually supported. In those situations, please read that fine print carefully to be sure you can enjoy step three, which is drinking a beer.