Most disaster recovery providers have a well-rehearsed IT recovery process. When an IT system fails, they are alerted by the customer and all hands are thrown to the pump to bring those systems back up, reconfigure applications on a new platform and ensure the data can be accessed to bring users back to some level of productivity. With the likes of virtual replication and snapshotting, disaster recovery providers are delivering more reliable recoveries in around 4 hours of less. A good recovery will meet RTOs and RPOs and the business won’t feel too crippled by their IT system failure.
However, recovering an IT system still involves a lot of manual work carried out by experienced engineers. Accessing this resource quickly is challenging for disaster recovery providers, let alone businesses that do it all in-house. During a recovery, engineers need to make many changes to enable your IT system to work on a new platform, for example:
• P2V overlays.
• New network topology, new IP address ranges.
• Appropriate AD recovery mode selected.
• AD reciprocal links to non-local DC’s disabled (if required).
• AD site modification to support D/R site.
• DNS records changed to correspond to new network addresses for all in-scope systems.
• Hosts files and other static config files appropriately amended.
• Test criteria necessary to certify functionality: Domain controller becomes ready, network configuration correct, DNS functioning, DNS entries for local host correct, no unexpected errors in event log.
And this is just at the domain controller level. There is then the SQL, application, web or similar servers to think about and make changes to. In summary, around 10-15 changes are necessary to each server to make it work and 10-20 test points to certify its correct functioning. This is what takes the time during a recovery, and extends full return to service to many hours if not days.
But what if, instead of needing to throw all hands to the pump and carry out all this work on an IT system during the height of a stressful situation, this could be done in advance? Surely this will speed up recovery time, and enable testing to be carried out in advance? This is where Pre-recovery comes in. By recovering IT systems regularly in advance, these changes and test can be carried out at a time when the business is not under pressure. When your business encounters an IT failure, your recovered system is waiting for you, fully certified. The reason it hasn’t been done before is that it’s very time consuming manually recovering systems regularly in advance, which therefore means its costly and not viable for businesses to do internally.
Hence the need for automation. The only sensible way to carry out regular recoveries in advance is to automate this whole process – including the testing process. This means human involvement is limited and costs are significantly reduced. And this is exactly what has now been done. Pre-recovery offers the key benefit of 100% certainty of recovery, along with other benefits of faster recovery times (just a few minutes to achieve full return to service) and stress free IT disaster recoveries forever more.
Finally, Pre-recovery offers a proactive approach to monitoring your IT systems. Because your entire IT system is recreated every day then any errors are picked up and can be rectified which actually prevents IT disasters from occurring in the first place. Human error is the biggest cause of IT disaster, so proactively monitoring your critical systems and the changes that have been made can prevent bigger, catastrophic errors from occurring.
So the next time you’re thinking of how you can improve your IT resilience, explore whether Pre-recovery is for you.