3 Key Components Every Disaster Recovery Strategy Needs in 2022

 

The year is 2022.

  • You’re 100% confident in your organization’s disaster recovery (DR) plan
  • You can’t for the life of you figure out how to spend all the extra money in your DR budget
  • It feels so lovely to have such an acute awareness of every possible threat that could lead to unplanned downtime at your organization

And maybe, just maybe, you happen to catch a glimpse of Bigfoot riding a unicorn through the lost city of Atlantis…

Let’s get real. The perfect disaster recovery architecture can feel somewhat mythical, and for many organizations, utterly unattainable. Unless companies are forced to react in the wake of a catastrophic downtime event, it can be difficult to convince the upper tiers of the decision-making hierarchy just how many financial and man-hour resources need to be allotted for DR planning and implementation.

Prohibitive budgets aren’t the only grievances facing the industry though. The associated management complexity of traditional DR solutions can be headache-inducing at best. In 2022, almost no one has a perfectly like-for-like, homogenous IT environment, and that means teams are being forced to leverage disparate DR solutions—all with their own managerial nuances and restrictions—to protect their critical data assets.

DH2i has been in the DR game with our smart high availability (HA) clustering solution, DxEnterprise, for well over a decade. We’ve interacted with a diverse range of international IT teams from a variety of industries like banking, healthcare, legal, etc. We’ve seen organizations that are just getting started with baseline DR strategies, massive enterprises that are hyper-prepared, and everything else under the sun. These are a few of the components that we think the best DR strategies contain.

Understanding and Communication Among Stakeholders

Disaster recovery needs for any given organization can vary drastically, and it’s an unfortunate reality that not every organization can afford the best technology available to protect their IT installation. Your budget allocation doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark though. It should be a function of how detrimental downtime events can be to your organization. The best way to start is to gain an understanding of these questions:

  • What does a downtime event cost your organization? We’re talking both financial impact on your organization from lost revenue, and the usability impact on end users (e.g. In healthcare or emergency services these impacts could be life-critical).
  • What is the worst possible impact that you’re willing to accept from a catastrophic downtime event? Obviously, this is a completely terrifying question to ask, but if your organization doesn’t have bottomless moneybag pockets, this discussion is critical. It helps determine the technology necessary to provide your organization the level of disaster-readiness that all stakeholders agree is absolutely imperative.

Once these questions are thoroughly researched and discussed, aligning expectations throughout all levels of the business hierarchy is critical. Getting stakeholders on the same page about your business’ unique disaster readiness needs helps with creating a more streamlined (it’s never easy though) process to solution identification and budget allotment. As Gartner puts it, it’s essential to, “Ensure that DR planning is done in alignment with business continuity management (not in an IT-only vacuum).”

Documentation and Role Assignment

The name of the game in a real-life disaster recovery situation is to have a meticulously detailed plan and well-thought-out designation of roles. The initial response to the outage is not the point at which you synthesize the recovery plan. Ideally, your response should be composed of explicitly planned recovery procedures including step-by-step instructions/commands that anyone on the IT team can execute to get your environment back up and running.

The most important clarification to make here is how you go about framing these disaster response protocols. Create plans based on loss categories in your environment, not based on the downtime-causing events. In other words, what assets could be lost/compromised at your organization (sites, applications, 3rd-party services, etc.)? You want your DR plan to be constructed at this level, because while your organization hopefully has a good understanding of what assets/systems you have to lose, the world is a terrifying oyster of chaos that could catalyze an outage in a variety of ways that surpass imagination. If you construct your DR response plan based on loss categories, you don’t have to worry about future events falling into a preconceived framework of downtime-triggering events.

Automation-Ready Technology and Ease of Management

It’s obvious where this recommendation is going. A thorough, easily-executable process is a good start for disaster recovery, but the best DR strategies lean heavily into “smart” automation. You want your systems to be able to react immediately to threat/outage detection and start automatically facilitating your DR processes.

Lastly, the best DR management strategies minimize concurrent recovery solutions and unify your environment for the simplest user experience. For example, you are not doing your IT team any favors by having to manage separate SQL Server Availability Groups on Windows and Linux.

Solutions like our DxEnterprise smart HA clustering software do just that. Not only can this solution be easily extended to provided multi-subnet disaster recovery with smart automation, but it also enables you to use a single pane of glass to manage your entire SQL Server environment—mixed platforms, mixed versions/editions, mixed distributions, all of it.

In Conclusion

There are a lot of steps you can take to create the best disaster recovery strategy for your organization today, but the most important thing to remember is that DR planning never stops. It is an ongoing evolution that can never be faced with complacency. The best plans are supported by:

> Thorough research on how downtime affects your organization

> Alignment on expectations and DR requirements among all stakeholders

> Detailed documentation and explicitly written recovery steps for each of your organization’s vulnerable assets

> Automated, easy-to-manage technology to aid your organization’s recovery efforts and enable nearest-to-zero total downtime

 

DH2i has a software solution that checks all the boxes for a state-of-the-art disaster recovery framework, and the best part is it can be easily layered over any mix of infrastructure.

Sign up for a free demo and we’ll show you how easy DR management can be.

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Josh Achtemeier