Storage

08:52 AM
George Crump
George Crump
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A Pretty Good Disaster Recovery Plan

Symantec just released its 2010 State of The Data Center Survey. In the survey, respondents were asked to rate their disaster recovery plan and only 12 percent rated it as excellent. Even if you add in the 27 percent who thought their plan was "Pretty Good," that means more than half thought that their plans were less than pretty good. Still, the choice of "pretty good" struck me. Who wants to execute a recovery from a "pretty good" DR plan?

Most importantly, in the event of a failure, you need to know which copy of data you should go get depending on the event and location. In general, there are typically two types of failure events: You either need to return data to the most recent version available or you need to return data to a specific point in time. The location is dependent on if you are at your original location or at your DR site. You need to know how to execute a recovery in both of these scenarios and locations. The process should be documented well enough that a person with minimal IT expertise could follow the steps and recover data.

Finally, and this is critical, the plan needs to be practiced regularly. In my days of managing a backup support help desk, the number one tech support call was walking someone through a system or even file recovery because they had never done one or had not done one often enough that they remembered the steps. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

There is a lot more to putting together a tight DR plan than can be justified in a blog entry but hopefully gives you some ideas. There are also plenty of resources, such as Network Computing's Top Ten Best Practices in Backups and Restores (registration required) and Jon Toigo's DR Planning.org.

George Crump is president and founder of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. With 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for datacenters across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS, ... View Full Bio
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