Disaster Recovery Testing: All You Need To Know | Zerto

Disaster Recovery Testing

A-to-Zerto Glossary of Terms



Disaster recovery (DR) testing is an important part of DR preparedness; a DR plan without testing is not an effective plan. If you do not regularly test your DR strategy, your IT staff won’t be sufficiently prepared to execute the DR plan and your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) will suffer.  

What Is Disaster Recovery Testing ?

Disaster recovery (DR) testing is the process of executing your DR plan in a controlled environment to test its effectiveness and provide training and experience to your staff on the DR plan and procedures. In IT, DR testing focuses on bringing systems and data back online in accordance with service-level agreements, regulatory compliance, or simply as quickly as possible.

DR testing helps you find gaps in planning, training, and solution readiness in your DR plan so your team can address these issues before a real disaster strikes. DR plans are living documents that require continued scrutiny and changes to maintain their effectiveness; you need to test yours regularly and realistically while measuring RTO and RPO to maintain recovery preparedness. Although DR testing is critical for every DR plan, each organization’s testing will look different and have different requirements.

Disaster Recovery Testing – It May Just Save Your Business

How Does DR Testing Work?

There are four basic concepts that make DR testing both time and cost effective:

  • Regular testing. Testing your DR plan once is not enough. Your plan should be tested regularly to ensure that the DR plan remains valid and effective. How often the DR plan needs to be tested may depend on your availability of resources, type of industry, scope of testing, likelihood of potential disaster scenarios, and so on.
  • Realistic scenarios. Try to simulate the conditions of a disaster scenario as closely as possible with considerations for compromised capabilities, including decreased communications, debilitated recovery mechanisms, and reduced bandwidth. 
  • RTO and RPO. No matter the type of disaster your organization is facing, the effectiveness of your DR plan will be measured in RTO and RPO. You should have specific RTO and RPO goals for the tests, and you should measure your results against these goals. 
  • Compliance. Many industries are regulated and require various levels of disaster response and recovery capability. Regulations often require testing to prove compliance with these regulations. 

Zerto and DR Testing

Zerto enhances your DR testing by making testing easy and non-disruptive in on-demand sandbox environments and providing detailed reporting of failover tests. Zerto DR testing capabilities enable you to stay compliant and ready to recover successfully at any time, no matter the disaster your organization is facing.

Zerto Non-disruptive Testing

Other Resources


Resource Center

Discover and access content from Zerto and 3rd parties (IDC, Gartner, ESG, etc.) related to Disaster Recovery.

DR Testing Essentials

Read this guide to get the basics of DR testing and some advanced concepts. You will also have access to a DR testing checklist.

Essential Guide: Disaster Recovery

Get everything you need to know about disaster recovery in one guide.

What is Zerto?

Learn about Zerto and how it can help you solve your data protection and recovery challenges.