How virtual servers, desktops and storage can make DR a breeze


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You can take a lot of the drudgery out of disaster recovery by using virtualization technologies for your company’s servers, storage and desktops.

Saying disaster recovery (DR) can be a “breeze” might be going a little overboard, but thanks to virtualization, the entire DR planning and execution process can be tremendously improved across all fronts. Before we look at how

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virtualization technologies can make DR easier, let’s see why disaster recovery so desperately needs virtualization.

DR without virtualization

With physical servers, storage and desktops, DR planning is usually an overwhelming and complex project.

Typically, physical servers require a physical server (a 1:1 mapping) at the recovery site that will take over in the event of a disaster. At both ends, OSes should be in sync when it comes to versions, patch levels and management apps. The tier-one application running on the server must be at the same version and patch level on the recovery server. In many cases, a DR plan calls for copying application data from backup tapes to each recovery server, redirecting DNS entries and then using the backup servers.

Of course, all the servers and applications need physical storage, including SAN arrays and tape backup (or disk-to-disk backup arrays). In the event of a disaster, the storage data and server apps have to be brought back up as quickly as possible. The data may be recovered from tape, from disk-based backup, or via real-time replication using software or storage snapshots.

This was first published in October 2012

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