Every solution provider has experienced the sinking feeling when a customer reports a disaster has occurred, data is lost and a quick recovery is required.
How often were backups taking place?
Was everything critical being backed up?
When was the last time a recovery was tested?
To ensure your customers don’t experience negative outcomes when disaster strikes, implement a reliable disaster avoidance and recovery plan.
Disasters do happen, which makes this a discussion you should be having with every customer. While most people think that weather is the most common type of disaster, it’s actually last on the list of common threats to data centers. Power outages are the biggest threat, followed by cyberattacks, human error and then natural disasters. To get the conversation started with your customers, ask if they have a plan. Many solution providers and end users emphasize backups, but not necessarily recovery. If one of these disasters happened tomorrow, how quickly could your customers recover?
The first step in building a disaster avoidance and recovery plan is to establish objectives. There are two objectives you’ll need to identify for each customer:
- Recovery point objective (RPO)—this is the point in time you can go back to where data was last backed up. Lost data will be anything written between the RPO and recovery. Ask your customer, “how often are databases being updated and how much data can you afford to lose?”
- Recovery time objective (RTO)–how long the customer can go without the applications or data before they incur unacceptable consequences. Ask your customer, “how quickly do you need to get your apps and data back up and running?”
The plan and related objectives must include the data center, cloud and virtualization environments. You should also identify what apps and data are more important than others to speed up recovery of mission-critical items. For example, if it’s critical the sales team gets their database up and running before other departments, the plan should include that provision.
Use VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) for planning
Building and testing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan is challenging so it makes sense to use tools and automation to assist you. As an add-on to vSphere, SRM provides a few key benefits:
- Create plans and test them to ensure backups and recovery are working as required.
- Virtual machines being recovered can be assigned to five different priority groups so critical apps and data are restored first.
- Test a failure of virtual machines without disrupting production.
- Built-in reporting simplifies audits and ensures RTOs are met.
Use vSphere Fault Tolerance (FT) for continuous availability
vSphere Fault Tolerance provides continuous availability for applications. The number of vCPUs you can protect with FT depends on the version and edition you purchase. If a hardware outage occurs, vSphere FT automatically triggers failover to eliminate downtime and prevent data loss. Additionally, vSphere FT automatically creates a new, secondary virtual machine to deliver continuous protection for the application. vSphere FT has some additional benefits:
- Compatible with all types of shared storage, including Fibre Channel, Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), VMware vSAN and network-attached storage (NAS).
- Compatible with all operating systems supported by vSphere.
- Works with existing VMware vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler and VMware vSphere High Availability (HA) clusters for advanced load balancing and optimized initial placement of virtual machines.
- Contains a version-control mechanism that allows primary and secondary virtual machines to run on vSphere FT-compatible hosts at different, but compatible, patch levels.
To learn more about disaster avoidance and recovery solutions for your customers, please contact the appropriate VMware Market Development Executive for your territory: