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Replication to a dormant disaster recovery site

Just completed a hardware install into a new DR site. Looking at a quick and efficient way of replicating the changes made to the normal site, to the DR site. The DR site will be "dormant" if you like, i.e. it will be switched live when required. By way of changes, I mean configuration changes to routers, PIX and Nokia's. If you could point me in the right direction or give me a few ideas it would be greatly appreciated!

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Most of the equipment you listed is likely capable of some form of configuration synchronization or state-sharing failover. For example, some Cisco routers give you the ability to synchronize configuration automatically or manually to subordinate equipment for eventual failover. Since your DR site will not be active, manual synchronization is probably the best option. Much like SAN Fiber Channel (FC) switches, network hardware vendors offer various ways to save and restore or copy configuration information across devices; the method will vary based on the vendor and the equipment's model and features.

That said, other items often require some planning when implementing manual replication of any kind of changes, network or other; the main challenge becomes change control or change management. The absence of adequate change management and review may lead to undocumented configuration changes that go unnoticed and that are not synchronized to an alternate recovery site. An undocumented change can resurface at the least expected time to cause unnecessary and costly delays.

Proper planning and the development of solid processes will enable the successful implementation of a relatively low-cost and efficient replication of configuration changes.

This was first published in August 2005

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