Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan Adaptable?

Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan Adaptable?

June 13

One size fits all.

I’ve spent my morning trying to think of any situation in any venue where that phrase is true. I’ve failed. As a larger person, I run into this all the time. Something claims to be “one size fits all,” but in the fine print you learn that “all” means “all people shorter than 5’10” and weighing less than 230 lbs.”

Sure, a one-size-fits-all mentality generally makes things easier (at least for the “sizes” that are fit), but it can introduce some problems as well. When you’re making a disaster recovery plan, it’s tempting to homogenize things. To standardize on a platform or hardware or software vendor. In many cases, that’s a great idea. It can save money and time.

But disasters are like people. One size of disaster recovery planning never fits all.

When you’re making your plan, then, consider finding a balance between putting all your eggs in that one proverbial basket and being a little flexible. You want a disaster recovery plan that’s adaptable, that can respond to anything the world can throw at it (even if that anything weighs more than 230 lbs.)

Here are two examples of how you can set up your environment to be adaptive in the face of disaster.

Local vs. Cloud

It’s so easy to just backup all your stuff to the cloud, right? It’s convenient. It’s cheap. It gives you everywhere access. It’s totally one size fits all, right?

Except when it’s not.

Cloud backups are awesome for many kinds of disasters, namely the kind that completely wipe a business out. It’s nice to think that the cloud is there for anything. A server goes down? Bam! The cloud. Stupid Barry in marketing deleted the folder that had all your company’s ads? Bam! The cloud.

And sure, having that information backed up in the cloud is definitely one way to deal with those kinds of local problems, but is it the best way? I can absolutely sit in one of those rickety folding camp chairs you can buy for a dollar at Walmart, but should I?

Imagine that the server that crashed was your web server and now your website (and all those lead gen forms you’ve got from taking advantage of all that money you spent on SEO) is not running. Or maybe it’s an Exchange server and now internal communications have churned to a halt, not to mention the fact that your sales team can’t interact with clients.

If you have those servers backed up to the cloud, then sure, you can presumably use those backups to recover them, but it’s probably going to take a while. Transferring that much information from the cloud takes time and meanwhile, your website’s down or your sales team is twiddling its collective thumbs.

If only you had a local solution.

But not only a local solution. Because sometimes, a hurricane or a tornado or an earthquake or a massive virus that Barry in marketing accidentally introduced into the environment takes everything out. These are perfect situations for cloud backups. When you’re whole business is down, you don’t complain about transfer speeds. You offer thanks you had a backup that was safe and isolated and ready to use.

Physical vs. Virtual

Like the cloud, virtualization is a juggernaut these days. It introduces such a level of efficiency and economy to an environment, it’s really a no brainer. But even if you have a 100 percent virtualized environment, that doesn’t absolve you from thinking a little about how you’re going to recover in case of a disaster.

Let’s face it. Virtualization is great, but it is a dependent technology. It requires physical hardware, software, licenses, and a level of technical expertise to deploy properly. And when you’re in a disaster, those kinds of dependencies can’t always be supported.

Let’s take a natural disaster again. If your business has just been crushed by a meteor, your disaster recovery efforts are going to be hamstrung a bit by what you have available. You have a server here, bits of software there, but you may not be able to recreate the exact environment necessary to rebuild your hybrid environment, at least not right away.

So what do you do? Sit around and wait for all the resources to become available? Or can you recover to that physical server, in spite of the fact that the data originally came from a virtual one?

Adaptable Disaster Recovery

There is no one-size-fits-all plan to respond to disasters. Each situation is different, complete with its own challenges. When you’re making your disaster plan, consider going into it with your eyes open. When you’re purchasing hardware and software, look for solutions that allow you to be adaptable, that allow you to use your resources to solve multiple problems.

Hurricanes may not be your problem, but something is. The fact that you may or may not know what that thing is means you need to plan for everything. You need to be able to adapt. That way, whether it’s a meteor or Barry in marketing, you’ve got a size that fits.