Low-risk, low-cost disaster recovery testing
Regular testing is an essential part of any disaster recovery strategy — but, says Veeam Territory Manager Warren Olivier, it’s often overlooked because of the perceived high cost and potential for business disruption.
“There is a widespread belief that if you want to test your disaster recovery plan properly, you actually have to pull the plug on your production environment and start up somewhere else,” he says. “This can be expensive, and if anything goes wrong it can be very disruptive — but that’s precisely why you need to test. You don’t want to wait until a real emergency before you discover the gaps in your plan.”
Fortunately, says Olivier, organisations running virtualised environments can use Veeam Backup & Replication to simulate their entire disaster recovery process for everything from a single server to an entire data centre — quickly, easily and without any impact on the production environment.
“The fact that we automatically test every backup with SureBackup has always been one of the Veeam features that our customers love most,” says Olivier. “With the latest release of Veeam Backup and Replication, we’re now able to provide fully automated failover testing for the entire environment as well.”
Olivier says full replicated environments can be booted up for testing within minutes. “The only thing that makes it a simulation is that we don’t pull the plug on the production site,” he says. “It’s not a good idea to completely automate failover to a DR environment — it’s a decision that a human needs to make. But we can help ensure that when that decision needs to be made, there’s a reliable, tested alternative to fail over to.”
Olivier says Veeam offers near-continuous replication, enabling recovery point and recovery time objectives that are well within most service level agreements. “For most organisations, this is enough. Fully synchronous replication is a very expensive exercise that is only justified in a few cases. With near-continuous replication and time to recovery of a few minutes, Veeam Backup & Replication can more than meet the needs of most businesses.”
In addition, he says, Veeam Backup & Replication is storage agnostic: “It doesn’t matter what physical hardware the client is using for their storage area network – it just works.”
The reality, concludes Olivier, “is that disaster recovery scenarios happen far more often than most people would like to think. Power fails, storage crashes and buildings burn down. The question for most organisations is not whether you will have to invoke your DR plan, but when. Regular testing is the only way to have peace of mind — as well as meet your compliance requirements.”