How to tell if your Disaster Recovery System is a Boat Anchor

Now that I have your attention, I want to discuss a serious topic; disaster recovery.  In the event of an actual disaster, you want to be able to recover as quickly as possible to reduce the number of transactions that you lose, and the business you will lose as a result. 

The real question is: Have you ever tested your disaster recovery process?

If the answer is, “no” or “not in a few years”, then your DR system might be nothing more than a boat anchor.

You’d be surprised by the number of companies we talk with who think that they have a disaster recovery plan because they all agree in the event of a disaster they will fire up the old POWER7 sitting in the corner, restore the last backup, and life will be great. 

Wrong.  It’s more likely that you will encounter issues you hadn’t planned on.

There are a number of things that you need to consider when creating a disaster recovery plan that includes using old hardware.

Do you have keys for that POWER7 sitting in the corner?

Once you fire the system up, will you actually be able to run on this system.  If you transfer licenses from one box to another you may not have the licenses you need.

Do you have maintenance on that system?

If not, you could risk that your production environment gets upgraded to 7.2, but not be entitled to run 7.2 on the DR systems because you don’t have active software maintenance.

Other considerations

Can you get keys for your 3rd party software?  

3rd party software can be an Achilles heel to a successful restore in a disaster.  It’s important to know which applications you will need keys for and how to get those keys in a real emergency.  This way you won’t be in a panic when you have a real issue.

When is the last time you did a full system save?

If you don’t know the answer to this, you should be nervous.  If you’re disaster recovery relies on backups, it’s important to have a current backup of your environment, otherwise piecing together the restore process can be extremely time consuming and error prone.

Do you know which tapes you need to restore the system back to its most recent state?

As I stated above, this is one of the big pitfalls in the restore process.  If you miss a tape that holds a critical piece of data, then you’re in trouble. 

Practice makes perfect

The key to a successful DR plan is to actually conduct a DR test at least once a year.  This will allow you to identify any missing pieces during trial runs, when there is no imminent threat to the business, reducing your risk in a real disaster. 

iTech Solutions can help you to develop a disaster recovery plan and then test that the plan will actually provide the results the business wants.  Who knows, you may find that disaster recovery in the cloud is a good option, or that your business really needs a high availability solution. Either way, we can help.

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