Data Centers

Focus on these areas after the first 24 hours for disaster recovery

Make sure your organization has a plan in place to deal with the impact of a major disaster. Here are some suggestions to include in your emergency plan.

After dealing with the immediate impact of a disaster, you must start the process of moving forward. This usually begins about a day after the emergency occurs, but it could be much later in the case of major disasters.

During this pivotal time, you face two major, and simultaneous, projects. First, you must continue your efforts to restore services to your end users. Second, you must begin planning how to bring operations back to normal.

The continuation of service is your primary concern. After you've completed emergency restoration operations, you'll typically need to bring several more systems back online.

These are usually the company's semi-critical systems—important to continued business, but not so critical that they need to be back up immediately. Common examples include file servers used for archival purposes and secondary databases used for reporting and other purposes.

Even if these systems can afford to be offline for a few days, you must get these servers up and running eventually, and therefore you need to plan your next steps.

Organizations generally don't protect these servers with real-time replication and failover systems, since the recovery point objectives (RPO) for these servers typically allow for the loss of a day's worth of data or more. So if you don't already have standby systems in place, you must first obtain the necessary hardware and software to restore the servers.

After restoring the platforms, find the latest backup tapes available (again assuming that you're not using some other form of data protection), and restore the data to the new servers, making adjustments as necessary along the way to deal with configuration issues.

In addition, you need to start restoring data protection services for the data generated in the DR systems. Therefore, in the (hopefully) unlikely event of a problem at the DR data center, you won't lose newly created data while you're in a failover state.

Meanwhile, you should begin to determine if and when you can return to your production facilities and data systems—depending on the depth of the outages. You need to find ways to bring the old and new data back to the original systems, and you should make preparations for getting your end users back to their normal lives.

At this early stage, keep in mind that it may very well be impossible to begin restoration efforts, but you must still begin preparing for that time. While you may not be able to act at this juncture, you must begin to plan now so you can successfully complete restoration at the nearest available time.

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