Virtualization for Disaster Recovery

Virtualization is slowly becoming a popular term with regards to disaster recovery.  This technology is proving to be an essential element for cost effectiveness and reliability.  To understand the many benefits of virtualization, it is important to identify the deficiencies of non-virtualization disaster recovery and how virtualization overcomes these problems.

3 Drawbacks of Manual Disaster Recovery Solutions

Traditional disaster recovery solutions can fall short of expectations because they are expensive, complex, and unreliable.  The high cost primarily stems from the necessity to create a second failover site.  This site requires a dedicated infrastructure as well as software licenses and personnel.  Manual disaster recovery solutions grow increasingly complex because to recover an entire business, the plan must manipulate multiple components and moving parts.  This includes specific applications, networks, and storage.  With the lack of automation options, the disaster recovery procedures are difficult to test and impossible to predict.

How Virtualization Is Different

Virtualization is fundamentally different from manual disaster recovery because it removes the complexity of hardware and software.  This allows for the standardization of recovery processes which opens the door to automating the recovery process.  Combining standardization and automation allows for consistent testing which leads to reliable, repeatable results.

Lowers Costs

Disaster recovery is increasingly more cost efficient when virtualization is adopted and new replication technologies utilized.  Virtualization gives businesses the ability to consolidate infrastructure at the secondary site, this infrastructure is what made manual disaster recovery so expensive.  Lower replication costs allow businesses to leverage lower end, less expensive storage solutions without sacrificing the overall effectiveness of the disaster recovery strategy.

Makes Automation Easy to Implement

Virtual environments allow end-users to avoid dealing with the complexity which stems from managing every step of the disaster recovery process.  It allows businesses to create a disaster recovery solution which can be executed and coordinated automatically.  Utilizing software driven recovery practices, businesses gain the ability to accurately test their recovery plan because the software will follow the exact same steps every time.  Following tests, modifications can be made to the automation process to further enhance the results.

Virtualization Eliminates the Risk of Human Error

A key reason businesses have problems testing and standardizing manual disaster recovery plans is because of the human element.  Leveraging virtualization and automation, the human element is removed from the equation.  This not only makes testing easier, but also eliminates the risk of human error impeding the disaster recovery process.  Virtualization also allows for businesses to test recovery plans more frequently without disrupting day-to-day activities.

Speeds up the Disaster Recovery Process

Comparing the manual recovery process to a virtual recovery process makes it easy to see how much faster and efficiently virtualization can be.  The physical recovery process typically includes a minimum of five basic steps.  This includes configuring hardware, installing the operating system, configuring the operating system, installing the backup data, and starting data/application specific recovery procedures.  On the other hand, restoring a virtual machine is much simpler because all of these steps can be automated.

As technologies and practices continue to evolve, virtualization is proving to be an essential almond of any efficient disaster recovery plan.  The ability to leverage automation and standardization minimizes costs and significantly improves the reliability of each process.

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