Disaster recovery (DR) is a necessity for modern businesses. Without a solid DR strategy, businesses are left vulnerable to massive data loss and disruption of operations if they lose access to their primary production environment.
These disruptions can be severe enough to cause a business to go bankrupt after a single event.
Yet, despite the risks of not having a comprehensive disaster recovery solution with fast recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recent recovery point objectives (RPOs), many companies try to cut costs by cutting corners with their DR plans.
Some companies try to use a local data backup as a DR solution, attempting to save costs by only paying for storage of data rather than keeping a separate replication environment up and running for emergencies.
However, the long RTO of traditional backup makes it less than ideal for a true business continuity plan.
There is another way to avoid the high cost of keeping a separate compute environment up and running, while still achieving a strong RTO and RPO for your business’ continuity plan—leveraging a DR plan that uses virtual machines (VMs) and your hypervisor to replicate your primary production environment.
VM-Based DR vs. Data Backup
Traditional Data backups in virtualized data centers have a few significant problems:
- Long RTOs
- Infrequent RPOs
- Labor-intensive backup & storage management
- No spare computing & storage resources to spin up in the event that the primary production environment is rendered unusable
The point of disaster recovery is to minimize the risk of data loss and to ensure a fast return to normal business operation no matter what kind of event causes the original data center to become unusable. Local backups simply do not measure up to the demands of DR.
Disaster recovery solutions that leverage virtualization allow businesses to quickly switch from one computing environment to a replica of that environment in another datacenter. Even better, the computing resources for the replication-target VM don’t have to be “powered on” for the replication to occur.
Reducing Costs by Powering Off Replication-Target VMs
This capability can provide a significant cost reduction over traditional 1-to-1 cost models where the replication environment would need to be powered on to operate as a DR solution. Rather than paying full-price for hardware and software for an active replication environment, companies using VM-based DR can pay a nominal reservation fee to keep the necessary compute resources available for when an emergency strikes.
While keeping spare computing resources active in the replication environment is an option, keeping them offline until they’re needed helps reduce the overall cost of a DR solution.
Cost Advantage of Hardware-Agnostic DR
VM-based disaster recovery allows for another significant advantage in that companies aren’t locked into using a specific hardware setup for their replication target. As long as the target machine is compatible with the company’s hypervisor solution, the specific OS and hardware setup don’t matter.
This allows companies to avoid being gouged by a single vendor when sourcing hardware internally.
VM-Based Recovery and Efficiency of Computing Resources
Using virtualization provides another cost benefit by allowing for increased efficiency from computing resources. Under traditional computing solutions under architectures such as the x86 architecture, servers are optimized to run one OS at a time. Here, if the OS and applications only use 5% of the server’s computing resources, the other 95% is wasted.
Virtualization allows for the computing resources of a single machine to be divided into many separate virtual machines. This lets many different operating systems and apps to be run on a single machine, reducing costs.
VM-based DR gives companies the ability to carry over this efficiency benefit from their primary production environment to their replication environment with ease. The exact cost benefit of using virtual machine-based disaster recovery will vary from one company to the next.
Find out how much VM-based recovery could save your business today!