Data center disater recovery runbook--Chapter three: Software and services

Data center managers now have their pick from a number of DR software and services, including virtualization, continuous data protection or facility outsourcing. This chapter of our data center disaster recovery runbook covers these topics.

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You don't have to go through your data center disaster recovery efforts alone. A growing disaster recovery services industry includes software services, outsource facilities and technologies to help data center managers plan, test and execute their DR and business continuity strategies. This section of our disaster recovery and business continuity runbook covers them.

Table of contents

  • Disaster recovery planning
  • Disaster recovery testing
  • Disaster recovery software and services

    In simpler times, disaster recovery may have been characterized by system admins backing up a few tapes and moving them offsite. But today's system architectures are more complicated and call for a variety of approaches. Data center managers now have their pick from a number of DR software and services, including virtualization, continuous data protection (CDP) or wholesale outsourcing.

    More disaster recovery resources:
    Data center disaster recovery considerations checklist

    Disaster recovery, business continuity hinge on the right philosophy

    Disaster recovery forum at IT Knowledge Exchange

    Technology-based DR strategies Server virtualization isn't just for test and dev sandboxes anymore. IT departments are relying on virtualization for disaster recovery and business continuity planning according to SearchDataCenter.com's 2007 data center purchasing intentions survey. This is primarily due to failover capabilities offered in products such as VMware's ESX server.

    Data center experts can't stress enough how important it is to be proactive in DR planning. To this end, IT departments can try deploying DR management software to help automate processes such as vulnerability discovery. Far from perfect, DR management software offers data center managers with more tools for providing their businesses with computing uptime.

    DR outsourcing and services
    IT departments stretched too thin may want to outsource their backup facilities, data storage or some other aspect of their data centers. Backup data center hosting is big business and, as such, data center managers must choose their outsource site wisely. Experts recommend determining what level of involvement your company wants to maintain and find a facility that matches your needs. Furthermore, there are federal regulations for how data can be handled when it comes to outsourcing your data recovery and storage. So it's a good idea to make sure you're compliant.

    An additional outsourcing caveat is security. Some colocation facilities are lacking in physical security, which can put DR plans at risk if the hosting facility is being used as a backup site. But, even leaders in the DR services businesses run into problems. Such was the case when data protection services provider Iron Mountain had a backup tape problem that cause at least one customer to go elsewhere for their DR planning needs.

  • This was first published in February 2008

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