Businesses and organisations of all sizes are deploying applications on virtualised IT infrastructures and in clouds. However, protecting these applications is challenging as traditional replication and disaster recovery (DR) solutions were not designed for virtualised data centres.

This checklist takes you through the key considerations you should make when considering whether your organisation would be able to recover in the event of a disaster.

At what level in your organisation is there acceptance of a business continuity and/or disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan?

Often business continuity and disaster recovery plans are just seen as technical solutions sponsored at a department level to serve a functional purpose, such as meeting an audit requirement for instance. If the primary sponsor doesn’t have support from the senior business management team, there may not be a comprehensive BC/DR plan that can be used in a real emergency. Having a cost effective and flexible technical solution will help more departments in the business support the BC/DR initiative to deliver full site recovery.

Could your organisation continue to work after or even during a disaster?

Even if your organisation has backup, recovery of that backup can take days. Tapes need to be transported and environments rebuilt. This is not a process built for a mission-critical application. If your DR plan uses something other than backup, it is usually a storage- based solution. If there is inconsistent storage in the environment, there will be an inconsistent recovery plan. A hardware agnostic solution delivers consistent recovery with reduced operation costs.

Are the recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) acceptable for the cost and administration of the solution? Will the business goals be met?

Some solutions meet part of the business goals of DR. However the overall business need is a complete solution, with RPOs of seconds and RTOs of minutes, which can be executed easily and consistently during an outage without impacting the performance of the production environment.

Backup usually has an RPO of 24 hours and an RTO of days. Would your organisation tolerate being unproductive for that amount of time?

Are multiple DR solutions being leveraged to meet your BC/DR goals? Is there expertise within your team to support each solution?

Multiple solutions cause confusion and configuration complexity during a real disaster event. The right administrators need to be available with different specialties and with multiple DR tools. An effective solution needs to be very easy to use and automate as much of the BC/DR process as possible. The goal should be that the tool is so simple that anyone can use it, so whoever is available can execute the failover.

Is recovery and protection possible at the application level?

Application groups ensure that all the virtual machines (VMs) supporting the mission-critical application are protected consistently. If the DR solution cannot effectively support your application groups, ad hoc groupings must be used which can cause errors, especially in high pressure situations.

How long will it take to recover VMs and restore application availability? Can your DR process be tested?

An enterprise-class DR solution will deliver replication at the time of the write event of the VM, not on a schedule. With all the data at the recovery site, recovery can happen immediately – there is no need to wait for the last data synchronisation. A true enterprise-class DR solution will perform non-disruptive testing at any time to give you predictable RTO and predictable site recovery times.

Does your team have the training necessary to failover a site?

The technical disaster recovery component of BC/DR is a difficult operation that requires regular testing and coordination.

  • Repeated non-disruptive testing is critical.
  • Longer-term testing in isolated environments is sometimes necessary to determine functionality.
  • Staff at the recovery site need to be able to perform the failover in case a disaster prevents the team at the primary site from participating in the recovery effort.

If you are wrestling with any of the above questions, you should reconsider your existing solution and speak to us about Disaster Recovery as a Service. Our expert team of trained and accredited specialists can help you through your cloud backup and disaster recovery journey, allowing you to focus on your business growth.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help, get in touch.