Simplified Disaster Recovery
Guest Post by Rob Selby, Lead Technical Design Architect, Adapt
A robust Disaster Recovery (DR) capability is mandatory for most businesses today — especially where IT is part of the workflow critical to continued operations or revenue generation. Software as a Service (SaaS) applications may mitigate risk by placing the responsibility for availability firmly with the service provider. However for those applications hosted either on-premise or with a partner, it pays to consider their ongoing business continuity needs.
Assessing Disaster Recovery tool options
Fortunately, the tools that make DR possible today have become much easier to install, configure and manage, removing some of the implementation costs. The almost ubiquitous virtualisation of workloads has also further simplified the process, removing vendor lock-in to expensive proprietary tools and giving customers access to much more choice and flexibility.
This increased choice and flexibility has fundamentally changed the traditional commercial considerations of providing DR. Businesses used to be reluctant to sink a large amount of Capex into what is essentially an insurance policy that you sincerely hope you will never have to invoke. The flexibility of the tools and the increased maturity of application level replication techniques has led to a large increase in the number of managed service providers offering a DR service that can be consumed under an Opex model, delivered with only a small internal resource investment.
What We Use
Adapt’s Recovery as a Service (RaaS) is built on Zerto replication software, with the target being a dedicated cloud environment within Adapt’s data centres.
The RaaS offering can be delivered on an Opex only commercial model, so really is that insurance policy — you are paying to have capacity available in the event of a disaster, but not to maintain that full capacity sitting there under normal operation. RaaS provides a high level of flexibility to customers, enabling them to scale the service in line with their business at a small incremental cost.
Implementing DR is simply a phone call to the Adapt support desk where, if necessary, the process of initiating and reconfiguring the virtual machines (VMs) starts. As standard with Zerto, the recovery point can be as low as a few seconds and the recovery time merely a factor of the number of VMs being protected. Once the VMs are powered up, the reconfiguration and quality assurance testing begins.
Customer Case Point
A potential customer approached Adapt with a requirement to provide a more comprehensive disaster recovery solution. Their current setup consisted of a fully virtualised primary infrastructure, hosted in a shared data centre and a secondary infrastructure hosted onsite in their head office with the hardware halfway depreciated.
The IT organisation understood the goals they needed to achieve and the corresponding service levels their business required. They understood that expanding their existing infrastructure wasn’t cost effective and would detract from the level of service they currently provided. The requirements had been set and the applications grouped into tiers of criticality, with the focus of the first phase on the tier one applications and inter-dependencies.
The solution proposed by Adapt was for the customer to provide an MPLS network tail into our RaaS platform. The base Zerto infrastructure was set up on the customer’s primary site and paired with Adapt’s RaaS platform — enabling tier one applications (consisting of just under 20 virtual machines) to be replicated and configured into the appropriate Virtual Protection Groups. The customer’s network provider managed the WAN component to allow network failover, meaning the virtual machines wouldn’t need reconfiguration when DR was activated.
Our customer was fully protected from Day 1, without having to spend any Capex, or invest months of internal resource in DR configuration, leaving the business exposed in other areas. The customer now only pays for the resource reservation of what they use, offering far greater value for money against the previous solution.
That business now has the flexibility to add in tier 2 and 3 applications, when they are ready, via a simple change request and an uplift in the reservation fee to account for the additional resources. For the customer, this is a win-win situation as all the pain of sizing DR and sinking large sums into hardware is negated, with the added bonus of vastly reducing the time, complexity and resource requirements to stand up the service.
A daunting & costly job?
Creating a DR solution for your business can seem daunting and can potentially leave a big hole in the IT budget. However with the latest tools and service offerings available, that doesn’t need to be the case.
If your business doesn’t have DR in place for your mission critical services, the mentioned use case shows it needn’t be a costly, Capex heavy project.
Is it time to review your current DR capabilities? Do the capabilities you have in place match your business continuity plans and equally importantly — are you getting the best bang for your DR buck?