4 Ways to Evaluate your Virtual Infrastructure Footprint for Improving Disaster Recovery
by Virtiant Team, on May 29, 2018 5:45:00 PM
Read Time: 3 minutes
Managing modern day IT infrastructure is impossible without an effective Disaster Recovery solution. It also seems unlikely to have an effective failover system without all the inherent problems that come with them such as cost, scalability, licensing, maintenance, patching, security or any of the seemingly endless list of challenges.Since you can’t or should not ideally function without it, then you need to find a way to solve these challenges so that your disaster recovery solution actually adds value instead of just more overhead. In fact, your disaster recovery infrastructure, when properly implemented, should be an integral part of running your production infrastructure on a daily basis. It should be capable of handling everyday IT disruption and provide load balancing capability just as easily as it can handle any disruptive event when it ** hits the fan.
IT Resiliency is more than just Disaster Recovery in the face of a major catastrophe. It is about providing continuous protection/availability and recovery of critical data, systems, and services. Your end-users and customers want your systems to be “always on” regardless of the potential everyday disruptive events your IT organization could face. Through IT Resilience, you can achieve Business Continuity by seamlessly failing-over and running your IT operations in a production like environment quickly and then recovering back rapidly.
The first critical step to attaining IT Resilience is getting a firm grasp of your current situation. This process starts with a thorough understanding of your current Virtual Infrastructure deployments. Armed with this knowledge, you will be one step closer to identifying the correct Disaster Recovery Solution that will meet your needs in the most effective and cost efficient manner. One that is not simply good old fashioned Backup, afterall who wants back that achieves no RTO? (Thoughts on this line)
Here are 4 Ways to Evaluate your Virtual Infrastructure Footprint.
Identifying your Virtualization Software
For this component, you will need a solid understanding of the virtualization software used by your organization. All virtualization solutions are not created equal. They each have their own unique properties that must be fully understood before determining how best to recover them. The primary options available in this market are VMWare, Microsoft’s Hyper V, and Citrix XenApp.
In evaluating your virtual machine footprint, you need a clear understanding of the number of guest machines and the total number of virtual servers. It is also essential to identify which VMs house mission critical applications versus VMs which provide ancillary functionality that don’t directly contribute to productive or revenue focused infrastructure.
As you begin to map this information out, you may start to see opportunities to reorganize applications across your virtual environment. The goal should be to isolate priority functions from non-critical applications; this allows you to focus your IT resiliency efforts on mission-critical applications before moving on to any secondary functionality.
Virtualization Software is also one of the most significant cost drivers for any disaster recovery project. When planning your secondary infrastructure you will need to pay close attention to how to control the cost of protecting, running and recovering virtual machines
Identifying your Storage Strategy & Database Deployments
Similar to the evaluation of your virtual machines, you will need a solid inventory of the types and sizes of your storage solutions. A solid inventory will begin to give you an idea of the volume of your production and failover solution. Here again, the importance of priority is a major focus. Storage solutions that support mission-critical applications should be separated, where possible, from non-critical.
In a perfect world, you would only have to deal with one Database Software Solution. The reality of the modern IT infrastructure is that multiple DB systems are often involved. Each of these software solutions, whether it is Oracle, Microsoft SQL, MongoDB, etc., has unique characteristics to deal with in terms of backups, high availability, and failover.
Mapping out where and how your critical data is housed will continue to clarify where your priorities will lie when it comes to designing your business continuity environment. Opportunities to improve your data availability plan will most likely be identified during this evaluation.
Identifying your Network Infrastructure Goals
Most networks are in perpetual development. As a business expands and new capabilities are added your network has to adapt to meet the new workloads. Developing a clearly defined Network Map that is a true representation of your environment is critical to your ability to build a resilient failover solution. And, yes, take note of your mission-critical applications and how they are deployed within your network structure. Opportunities for improvement may make themselves clear.
Perhaps your goal is to simplify your network infrastructure as additions are made. It is not uncommon for network growth to cause less than desirable complexity. As you continue to add network infrastructure, sub-networks, firewall rules, and routing table configurations your ability to manage your network diminishes. This complexity places considerable pressure on your network engineers to adapt to the growth and maintain network performance while introducing more risks.
It may be that complexity is not as much of an issue as the time it takes to effect network changes in your environment. IT departments are under constant pressure to respond to change requests driven by the business. It is a delicate balance between being fast and being efficient. One misconfiguration can cause costly downtime.
The optimal approach should be to reduce complexity in a way that results in the efficient management of network operations whilst containing costs. As you evaluate your network infrastructure goals give serious consideration to the obstacles that prevent you from achieving your desired state that can be easily tackled with the right type of solution.
Identifying your Deployment Strategy
This section is about understanding where you want your infrastructure to exist. Do you have an onsite infrastructure ? Do you use a Cloud Service Provider to house part of your virtual infrastructure? Do you use a combination of both? What would be your ideal state?
Aligning your current deployment to the optimal failover deployment is an important step. Just like with the deployment of your production environment, you have the same three options; local, cloud and hybrid.
Additional questions to consider are:
- What is your Replication/Backup strategy for your Virtual Footprint?
- How are you currently set up to handle a truly catastrophic disaster recovery?
- Do you have the capability to failover and run your infrastructure when your primary infrastructure falls down?
- Are you able to easily test your readiness regularly?
Building the Bigger Picture
At Virtiant, we are committed to improving how our customers visualize and implement Disaster Recovery Solutions. We offer a variety of deployment options that can be tailored to your IT organization’s individual needs. If you prefer the confidence and convenience of having your recovery solution onsite, then you can choose an on-premise deployment. If you prefer the ease and scalability of the cloud then Virtiant can offer a solution free from the concerns of hardware dependencies. We can easily handle hybrid solutions and multiple sites as well. There has never been a better time than right now to take your disaster recovery solution to the next level and achieve continuous data protection.