How well can your organization deal with an emergency? Automatically sign up for our free Disaster Recovery newsletter, delivered each Tuesday, and make sure you’re prepared for the next catastrophe.

Whether you choose to use host-based disaster recovery (DR)
software or hardware-based systems, you will need to be sure of your software
licensing on both sides of the DR plan, well ahead of an actual disaster. Failing
to ensure that you have the proper licensing could result in your DR system
failing to function as expected, or in significant fines and other penalties. Many
different factors come into play when discussing software for DR, which makes it
an often-overlooked aspect of the DR planning process.

Get the appropriate licensing for backup/recovery facilities

First off, if you’re using any sort of software solutions to
ensure recovery, you’ll need to be sure you’ve got the right software and
licensing to use it properly. Getting the right licensing for the production
facility is a no-brainer, since the tools in question wouldn’t work if you didn’t
have the right software setup. However, many people using tape and other
point-in-time technologies neglect to secure the proper licensing of these
applications for the backup facility or secondary recovery area. Even if you’re
only in one building, the servers you plan on restoring to may require
additional licensing of tape agents or snapshot-recovery tools. Failure to
procure the proper number of licenses may leave your company open to regulatory
action, or at the very least, cause your DR solution to function oddly or not
at all during an emergency.

Find out licensing requirements of “standby equipment”

Beyond the basics of having the right DR software licensing
for the actual backup and/or protection solutions, you’ll also need to examine
the software and application on the servers themselves. Each operating system sets
its own rules, for example, for how many copies you must buy. It may not be
required that you have a license on servers that are designated as “standby
equipment;” however, this is determined by the manufacturer of the
software—not by you. If it isn’t
required, buying extra licensing is a costly mistake in the best of
circumstances and possibly an overwhelming misuse of funds overall. The
opposite is also true. You must be able to show licensing for each server that
requires it, including those for backup servers, if the manufacturer doesn’t allow
for extra DR copies. This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but failure to properly
license software can leave your company open to stiff penalties and other legal
action if you don’t comply with the appropriate laws and regulations.

Check licensing agreements for application software

Similarly, applications follow different rules when it comes
to DR. Many applications—especially enterprise-class systems—allow for the use
of a DR copy of the software at no additional charge. Others require that each
server that has the software installed also has an individually licensed copy
of the software product. This is yet another case where failure to do the
proper licensing research could lead to your DR plan failing. Either the
systems simply won’t work and will exit with a licensing error, or you may get
hit with fines and other penalties for failure to purchase the right licensing
for your situation.

Keeping track of all these different licenses and requirements
could become overwhelming very quickly. This is especially true if you add
remote-access tools and Client Access Licensing (CALs)
to the mix. Your best bet is to use a few select resellers, and relying on them
to assist you in acquiring the correct licensing for the solutions you want to
put into place. Going with a fewer resellers has the advantage of letting those
resellers get the total picture of what you’re trying to do, and also
leveraging economies of scale when it comes to pricing for the total solution.

Licensing may seem like a secondary issue when it comes to
DR planning—especially for software tools. However, if you don’t tread
carefully here you may find yourself with both an ineffective DR plan, and a
lot of legal issues waiting for you down the road.