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Disaster Recovery: Re-Thinking Your Strategy
Secondary sites are now cost-effective recovery tools
By: Dan Lamorena
Jul. 21, 2008 12:00 PM
3. Flexibility Through Secondary Sites
Advanced clustering software also reduces the high cost of the traditional condition that applications must be failed over to the identical hardware that the production applications run on. The most sophisticated clustering software permits failovers between different storage and server hardware within a data center or at remote sites.
With the flexibility to dynamically reconfigure and reallocate resources, the secondary site becomes a resource that can be used for multiple purposes the majority of the time, but can be quickly reverted to its backup designation when needed. This underscores the value a secondary data center can deliver, making it more accessible to more companies.
4. Realize Value in Virtual Environments
Restarting virtual servers at secondary sites has traditionally been a manual process, requiring personnel who may not be available during an actual disaster. New clustering software allows companies to deploy server virtualization technology and receive the same automated disaster recovery benefits they can expect in their physical server environments.
Furthermore, new high availability and disaster recovery tools are available that reduce the complexity of protecting and managing both physical and virtual server environments. With clustering software, administrators can fail over applications from physical servers to virtual servers, and manage physical and virtual resources from a single graphical user interface. The result is that through effective management of physical and virtual servers, hardware costs at secondary sites can be significantly reduced.
5. Regularly Test Your DR plan
With automated failover capabilities, IT organizations can test recovery procedures using a copy of the production data – without interrupting production, corrupting the data, or risking problems upon restarting a production application. This capability means that tests can be run during business hours instead of over the weekend, reducing staff overtime. As an added benefit, automated tests run during peak production periods and can re-create and approximate the conditions that would occur during a true failover situation.
Configuration management tools can also give more confidence to IT managers that their DR plans will work by ensuring that servers at DR sites are consistent with those in production sites. Server builds change over time as patches are implemented or as application dependencies change. This can prevent clustered servers from working properly, as standby servers may not have received the latest patch or configuration updates. The latest configuration management tools can run consistency checks that will alert administrators that servers have drifted from the standard build. Action can then be taken to make the appropriate changes and ensure that HA/DR technology will work when called upon.
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