There are two critical components of all disaster recovery (DR) plans: backup and recovery. Backup lays the foundation of all DR plans and the recovery aspect determines how quickly your operation can be restored to nominal activity. It’s important to create plans for both aspects of the model you are going to deploy so that when an outage does occur, you are ready.
Following the 3-2-1 rule
When your applications or databases go down, priority number one is getting them back on-line as quickly as possible. A Backup by itself is fine but without the ability to recover backups, they are not worth much. The ability to restore your backups is really paramount. This is one of the main reasons that is so important to back up to multiple media types following the established 3-2-1 rule of backup. The 3-2-1 rule of backup essentially states that you should have at least three copies of your data. You should store your backup copies on two different types of media. And finally that you should keep at least one backup copy offsite. The premise behind this rule is to ensure that you are able to successfully restore your backups.
Testing backup restores
The ability to effectively restore your backups is also why testing your backups is so important. Just performing backups isn’t enough. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for restore operations to fail because of media or data corruption. According to a Dell EMC study, 76 percent of respondents globally experienced some type of business disruption within the last 12-months and 27 percent were unable to recover their data using their existing data protection solutions. Albeit tedious and unexciting, regular testing of your backups ensures that you can restore your backups when you need to. Some backup products provide the ability to automate your backup testing which can help eliminate the manual burdens involved in testing the validity of your backups.
Minimizing Recovery Time Objectives
The time to restore is also one of the most critical components of today’s DR plans. Many of today’s organization want 365.24.7 availability and any downtime absolutely needs to be minimized. Restore time for backups can be a lengthy process. For DR, VM replicas offer far faster Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) than backups. Some backup products offer fast restore technologies but even so, recovery using a VM replica is much faster. Because the replica is a complete VM that’s essentially always ready to run, it can be brought on-line in little more than the time it takes to start the VM. While there can be some data loss depending on the replication interval most businesses find the tradeoff of some data loss with near-instant recovery to be well worth it.
While replicas do offer very fast RTOs, it’s important to realize that replicas are not a substitute for actual backups. While some DR products do allow for a limited number of replication restore points, these are far more transient than backup archive copies which can be kept for years to meet legal, auditing and other regulatory requirements.