By Rick Vanover, Product Strategy Specialist at Veeam Software
There are a number of changes that this year will bring to organisations – whether the IT group finally gets to retire an old application or happily implements a new piece of hardware. One challenge that has been around forever is Disaster Recovery (DR). 2014 will see DR become an easier task for IT groups worldwide.
- There’s no reason not to virtualise anymore. There was a time when it was very aggressive to virtualise some of the most critical applications. Into 2014, it will actually be a much easier journey. There are plenty of virtualisation guidelines from application providers, infrastructure best practices from VMware and Microsoft as well as a strong virtualisation community. With all of these resources, there’s no reason that new systems can’t be deployed as virtual machines.
- It’s easier to change application designs. Frequently, the biggest objection to virtualising everything is that application design simply won’t go the route of virtualising nicely. In 2014 and beyond, companies will have the ability to press for a critical change to the application (or possibly even replacing it) for the sake of virtualisation and its associated benefits. Additional drivers for key application change may include enhanced need for mobile access or real-time information – legacy applications simply can’t meet some of today’s requirements. Virtualising and protecting in a modern fashion will serve the stakeholders best.
- Protecting data off-site is easier than ever. It’s one thing to provision a robust data centre with incredible virtualisation, networking and storage technologies. It’s a whole different discussion to have that infrastructure fully protected and available to run off-site in case of a true disaster. While it’s not easy to make blanket recommendations, the reality is that if workloads are virtualised, there is a new world of options to protect off-site. This can include storage replication, virtual machine replication, backup data transfers with efficient networking usage, leveraging cloud storage, leveraging cloud compute and even writing backups to tape. There are so many options but what is needed to protect off-site? All decisions are made easier if the entire data profile is virtualised.
- Advanced storage technologies will drive key objectives. Storage for virtualisation has always been the most critical decision point, and as 2014 arrives it will only take a larger role in determining the overall capability of a virtualised infrastructure. With regard to DR, what can storage do for us today? Advanced snapshot engines, storage replication, tiering, hybrid use of solid state drives and more are all advanced storage options that are available now that can make a strong positive impact to virtualised infrastructures and how companies deliver a DR catalog.
- The business will closer align to the technology. There have long been procedures and policies that document key metrics such as a Service Level Agreement (SLA), Recovery Point Objective (RPO) or a Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Those metrics have been provided historically to establish IT performance levels when things go wrong. Companies now however have a higher expectation. Specifically, business groups have enjoyed the rapid deployment processes that virtualised infrastructures have provided. However, traditional recovery models can’t simply match these capabilities. If companies can deploy a new system in 15 minutes, should they still be at the mercy of a 4-hour SLA for recovery?
Today there are plenty of DR and backup solutions that can restore virtualised workloads in just minutes, even after a key infrastructure failure (such as the SAN). Companies now have options to even provision self-directed restores for business application owners.
What’s your plan for Disaster Recovery this year? Does it involve key investments in virtualisation and supporting technologies?