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What your DR plan should protect

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Application recovery objectives

Assign protection and recovery objectives. Beginning with the most critical applications and the most important data sets,

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define realistic protection levels and recovery objectives. Protection objectives can specify levels of hardware redundancy and failover, and the number of duplicate copies, media types and storage locations. Recovery objectives should include RPO and RTO metrics for all data classes. If you've done a good job of classifying applications and data sets that have common business needs, you should be able to assign consistent RPO and RTO metrics for all the data in each data class (see "Application recovery objectives").

Your protection requirements and recovery metrics, along with application performance requirements, will correlate with storage infrastructure configurations and costs. For example, reference data files might be adequately protected with RAID 5 protection on local disk storage and daily tape-based backups to support an RPO of 24 hours. In contrast, a critical OLTP database with an RPO of one hour (for a site-wide outage) might require local RAID 1 protection, continuous replication to a remote site and frequent snapshot copies to ensure consistent application recovery. The disk storage infrastructure for this OLTP application could cost five times to 10 times as much as the reference-data archive storage. By properly classifying your data, and assigning recovery objectives based on business needs, you should be able to meet the protection and recovery needs of the most demanding applications while reducing infrastructure costs for the less-demanding data classes.

Continuous improvement. After completing the initial assessment and DR plan, regularly test the DR plan to discover any deficiencies that will require modifications to the plan. As resources permit, or as business needs and risk assessments dictate, plan to execute a more complete data classification and archiving program and a more sophisticated set of recovery and service-level objectives.

This was first published in June 2006

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