Creating Flow for Successful Disaster Recovery – NAKIVO Briefing Note

Nakivo 8 – Disaster Recovery Workflow

Many backup and replication software solutions claim to help organizations recover from a disaster but just as backups are more than copying data from point A to point B, disaster recovery is more than just moving data from point B back to point A.

Several recent studies show that organizations have seen more failures than successes from their disaster recovery efforts and a majority of IT executives, have low confidence in their ability to recover from a disaster. The low success and approval rate stems from the fact that most organizations don’t have a repeatable process when it comes to disaster recovery. In most cases, disaster recovery involves a bunch of IT guys scrambling around, making best efforts to recover all the data.

A successful disaster recovery plan requires more than just copying data from point A to point B. Successful disaster recovery requires a repeatable, comprehensive plan and a regular testing of that plan. A DR plan is a series of steps that IT follows as disaster approaches, strikes, and after it hits. Most data protection software, however, does not provide an orchestration layer and does not map into the backup software to ensure that the workflow meets the objectives of the disaster recovery plan. Data protection software tends to focus more on discrete jobs and not overall workflow.

Storage Switzerland and others continuously advise IT to create a plan or runbook that they execute during a disaster. Part of the plan is ensuring frequent enough backups of data to meet recovery point objectives (RPO), and storing those backups in a way that enables the organization to meet recovery time objectives (RTO). Another part of the plan is restoring servers in the correct order. For example, an organization typically needs to recover a Directory Server before it can recover anything else.

The key to successful disaster recovery is to develop a repeatable plan. IT needs to test the process on a continual basis. The problem is most data protection solutions have no way to align protection and retention methods with RPO and RTO. They also lack the orchestration capabilities to ensure they bring servers back online in the correct order.

NAKIVO Backup and Replication 8.0 – Site Recovery

NAKIVO Backup and Replication is data protection software for VMware, Hyper-V and AWS EC2. The solution is easy to deploy and provides agent-free, application-aware, protection of virtual machines in those environments. It provides all the features one would expect for virtual machine backup including change block tracking, deduplication (including support for Dell EMC Data Domain Boost), supports running directly on several systems (Windows, Linux, NAS), backup verification with screenshots of test recovered VMs and instant recovery of VMs, files, and application objects.

In the 8.0 release, NAKIVO adds a new capability, site recovery. Site Recovery is a disaster recovery, workflow automation engine, which NAKIVO now includes in its standard backup and replication solution. IT can use the site recovery capability to automate failover and failback of virtual machines as well as scheduled disaster recovery testing. Within the workflow, the DR planner can control the order in which site recovery recovers VMs and the timing between recovered VMs. The time is controllable by conditions like if VM instances exist, if they are running and if the host for the VM is reachable.

The automation and orchestration of the recovery process make testing easier. IT can start a DR test with literally the click of a button and monitor them throughout the process. More importantly, when an actual disaster occurs, IT doesn’t need to scramble to find a disaster recovery runbook. Instead, the most available administrator simply starts the failover process by starting the pre-defined workflow.

StorageSwiss Take

Disaster Recovery fails for many reasons, but the biggest is a lack of a process. Data protection software’s lack of process driven methodologies doesn’t help. This forces IT to have a separate manual that tells them how to make the data protection software execute the disaster recovery plan. NAKVIO’s site recovery feature enables IT to embed the disaster recovery runbook permanently inside the data protection software, while rewarding IT for documenting the process by then executing the documented process automatically during both DR tests and actual DR situations.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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