Disaster recovery (DR) is quickly becoming like fire or flood insurance to many businesses. It’s something every business needs to have—but every business owner hopes they’ll never have to use it.
Yet, when disaster strikes, business owners will be glad they have it… assuming they have a comprehensive DR solution that fits their needs.Part of ensuring that the DR solution you acquire is a good fit for your business’ needs is knowing the right questions to ask about the solution:
#1: Can the DR Solution Support Your Mission-Critical Apps?
Many applications running on virtualized infrastructures rely on being able to reference data stored across multiple VMs that are consistently grouped. When the DR solution moves VMs from one server to another, does the grouping remain consistent, or does it break grouped VMs apart?
The ability of the DR solution to maintain consistent grouping for VMs can affect its recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTOs and RPOs), as well as post-recovery performance.
#2: Does the Solution Eliminate Vendor Lock-In?
Vendor lock-in from proprietary solutions that only work with certain, pre-set configurations of hardware and software make managing a disaster recovery solution much more difficult and can add expense.
Hardware-agnostic solutions that only need servers to be running compatible virtualization hypervisors create flexibility, ease of management, and can even contribute to reduced costs for the solution.
#3: How Scalable is the DR Solution?
As companies grow, so too do their infrastructures. Companies operating on virtualized infrastructures will continuously add new virtual machines to their infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the business.
The ability of the DR solution to scale without adding proprietary hardware or increasing the complexity of management is crucial to ensuring the smooth deployment of the solution.
Scalable DR solutions should have the ability to configure replication policies at the application level for entire groups of virtual machines (VMs).
#4: How Does the Solution Perform?
The computing resources available to any company are finite. The trouble with certain data backup & replication schemes (such as using VM snapshots) is that they can have a significant performance impact, slowing down servers and creating instability.
Performance impact of a DR solution should be kept at or near zero at all times, even in the middle of replication options. Solutions that take advantage of data path splitting can help ensure tight RPOs while virtually eliminating negative performance impact.
#5: What Are the RPOs and RTOs for the Solution?
The point of a disaster recovery solution is to get operations back to normal with minimal disruption after the loss of a primary production environment. RTOs and RPOs directly influence this goal.
The longer it takes to recover, and the less recent the recovery point, the more disruption there will be to the business.
With any DR solution, it’s important to verify whether the recovery objectives are fast enough and recent enough to qualify the solution as being viable. DR service providers should be able to verify their deliverables for RPOs and RTOs.
Even after implementing a DR solution, it’s vital to test the solution regularly to make sure that it works and can maintain your RPO and RTO targets.