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#vSMBChat Recap: Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Last Thursday, we hosted our very first #vSMBChat on Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. vExpert, Mike Laverick, donned his best Elvis suit and helped us to co-moderate the Twitter chat.  Mike and other helpful IT gurus on Twitter answered many questions about the difference between disaster recovery versus business continuity, how to determine your RTO’s/RPO’s and DR options for SMB’s on a budget.  Here is a look at the conversation:

1.  What options products, features are available to help us avoid an outage?

Mike Laverick offered starting with components such as NIC teaming and…





@wensteryu from Nimble Storage chimed in with more storage options.






2.  What’s the difference between disaster recovery and business continuity?

Mike responded that DR is about the immediate after effects of encountering a disaster, whereas BC is about the long-term viability of the business operation, after the event.

And self-proclaimed virtualization evangelist, @millardjk added:





However, DR does not mean replicating everything; it’s about identifying business priorities.


3.  Why is it necessary to have an IT DR plan?





But a DR event may also worry your suppliers, whose business is dependent on your company. Essentially, a DR event can affect all stakeholders in your company.


4.  What’s the best way for us to determine our RPOs and RTOs?

Mike advised us to break down our operations into applications and to determine whether there is a process in place for when an app is not available. If not, how long can we function without them? If you have already lost a terabyte of data as a result of the disaster, considering restore alone from backup might not be viable.  After all, by the time everything is restored, how useful would that data be?  Overall, it is important to gather your apps by minutes, hours, days, weeks and to triage accordingly.

To which @millerdjk added:






5.  What does a disaster recovery plan entail?












Components of the “Big Red Book” should include steps for IT and non-IT employees when a disaster strikes. It should contain calling trees and an escalation path for customers, vendors, employees, etc.  Furthermore, a DR plan requires more than a Site Recovery Manager (SRM). An SRM is only part of the plan, but not a silver bullet.


6. Should I consider a DR plan for anything other than mission-critical apps?








There was a general concurrence that mission critical applications should be the first priority, but other applications should not be totally neglected.


7. How can I create a good DR plan with a limited budget?

#vSMBChat participants agreed that offsite backup would be the first place to start, as the cheapest, but slowest option.






8.  I like the idea of full site protection but I only have one site. What are my options?

Our IT experts provided a couple of options: 3rd party provider, virtualizing and replication.












9.  How does virtualization help with DR?

Mike answered that virtualization can only benefit your DR plan.  After all, if each and every physical needed a physical server in the DR plan, that’s going to be very expensive. Physical-to-virtual is possible, but virtual-to-virtual is still best for a DR plan.












10.  Testing our DR setup can be a pain. Can you recommend ways to make that easier?

Mike suggested getting VMware Site Recovery Manager, since it allows for production HR’s testing (soft) without touching the production.

@wensteryu agreed and added:





11. My apps need to be up 24/7. Are there ways to test my DR setup in this kind of environment?

Again, our #vSMBChat participants recommended SRM for non-disruptive testing.








But, Mike also had a couple other suggestions:






12. What kind of backup options are available?

Mike offered VMware’s vDP for companies on a tighter budget.  An alternative would be looking at the well-serviced 3rd party market.

@millardjk also suggested an alternate, perhaps more infamous, backup method.








Yep, William, we’re talking about your ghettoVCB scripts!


Thanks again to everyone who participated in our first #vSMBChat. Stay tuned for details on our next topic here in the blog and on Twitter with @VMwareSMB.


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