While the first wave of virtualization has consolidated server hardware into virtual hosts and recognized significant savings in physical machines, small and midsized organizations must now consider the impact of this consolidation on their backup and disaster recovery plans, according to a report from QuorumSoft. By encapsulating workloads that can be shifted between physical hosts and clouds, new options for performance, redundancy and disaster recovery exist for companies that have implemented virtualization, the report noted.
A formal disaster recovery plan can enable an organization to survive a serious event by eliminating confusion during a disaster, and setting clear expectations for what systems and services will be brought online when and how. Many factors go into the creation and maintenance of a DR plan, including the systems, network, budget, staff, resources and, of course, business requirements, the report explained.
QuorumSoft researchers explained disaster recovery encompasses a broad set of practices within the broader discipline of business continuity. From an IT perspective, disaster recovery concerns itself with the processes needed to provision for and recover from incapacitation of IT capabilities at a primary site. Incapacitation could result from a natural disaster, terrorism or intentional sabotage, massive hardware failure, and any other adverse event.
"The process of developing a DR plan is complex. Of the many books and professionals dedicated to the topic, most recommend starting with a simple audit of your environment. Itemizing and documenting your services, systems and their dependencies can be a big help in understanding your environment, and paves the way for the rest of the work," the report said. "Identifying the 'fragile artifacts' within an organization allows you to plan for their protection."
The report also pointed out that for organizations on a tight budget, price is a crucial factor when introducing new backup products and solutions, and IT organizations with a broader mandate and bigger budget to pursue business continuity objectives should consider the total cost of the solution over time, in addition to the up-front sticker price.
"It is now possible for small and midsized organizations to access and use many of the same powerful IT capabilities once available only to larger organizations with more resources. Implementing virtualized IT environments is one area. As smaller organizations leverage the potential of virtualization, it is critical they consider the implications on their disaster recovery planning," the report concluded. "By gaining an in-depth understanding of specific strategies for disaster recovery, small and mid-sized organizations can leverage the potential of virtualization without creating a hidden, potentially costly, risk to their systems and data if a major disruption to their IT systems occurs."