Archive for the Tag disaster recovery
Posted by richswain in Oct 29, 2009, under Videos
There are MS Exchange admins out there that if you ask them how long does it take to recovery an Exchange server, you will see them shudder over the thought. And those who are recovering from tape? It gets even worse. I know there are requirements for tape and there are some that still like putting a tape in a fire proof safe just in case but lets talk about recovery.
Messaging is increasing becoming a top priority in companies around the world. We use it to communicate latest releases, respond to clients requests, get the scores from last night. It may not be as important as keeping the SAP database online, but its provides value that is noticed when down.
Not all recoveries are done through swinging the entire data center through the DR strategy. There are times when we need to restore a mailbox for legal reasons or people asking for certain emails to be brought back from an errand delete. How quick is your restore at that point? Can you pull the data off tape quicker than someone can recreate the excel spreadsheet?
With SnapManager for Exchange, we can quickly backup and restore exchange mailboxes. The same technology that we use for file level snapshots apply to here to a database. We put the database into a backup mode and take a consistent snapshot of the data with out the end user noticing. Backups can then be mirrored to another system either at a DR site or just another exchange cluster. This allows you to have a point in time capture of the data in case you need to restore.
Restores seem to be the more of the headache for most admins. With the snapshot restore via SnapManger for Exchange, an admin can simple choose which recovery point they want to restore from and they can have the data restore over the production or they can restore to a recovery storage post. The restore is quick and is intuitive which also cuts down on the overall recovery time.
Here is a quick video of the backup and restore function of SnapManager for Exchange.
Posted by richswain in Oct 27, 2009, under Videos
I have been asked about the VMware SRM tool a few times this week and its already Tuesday. Netapp has published a great demo on you tube that goes through the process of protecting the VMware environment. SRM allows VMware administrators to automate and test the disaster recovery strategy.
The main question people are asking is how do we know the DR site data is going to work when we really need it. For most customers I have suggested using the flex clone technology that allows you to clone a volume from a snapshot. This cloned volume does not take any more space from the N series system which allows you to create multiple copies of the volume if needed.
SRM automates this process of snapmirroring the virtual machines and the creation of the cloned VMs. Here is a great video of the tool and how it works.
For more information about SMVI, Snapmirror and flexclones, go to the IBM N series page
Posted by richswain in Oct 06, 2009, under News
Right now people are debating the merits of using fibre channel, iscsi or NFS for the virtual infrastructure media. With Nseries, you can do all three all from the same hardware with out adding on another product. While this question usually comes down to a cost issue, I am seeing more and more clients going to a NFS infrastructure for simplicity.
Site Recovery Manager has made admin’s lives easier by automating some of the things they would have to do during a DR test or recovery. If you have VMWare in your data center and you haven’t looked SRM yet, you need to.
Here is a great write up on how to setup a N series simulator and run some tests on the SRM functionality over NFS. Big thanks to Cormac Hogan for putting this together.
Posted by richswain in Sep 23, 2009, under Tips and Tweaks
What are the signs of a good recovery or business continuance plan? If you have ever had to develop a DR plan you know you to not make any assumptions and everything is laid out in perfect order on the road to recovery. But those who have had to implement a DR plan know the road to recovery is paved with great intentions. We can not predict everything that could happen and the recovery points for those systems.
When I talk to IT admins about their DR plan, most say they have one, some say they have tested it. Those who did try out their DR plans had to make so many changes to the environment, they had questions if it was a good test or not. While doing some research on this topic I came across an interesting fact: 6 percent of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss survive, while 43 percent never reopen and 51 percent close within two years. In large companies, the recovery budget usually runs between 2 percent and 4 percent of total IS costs.
With so few dollars being spent on the recovery and the risks of actually surviving a data loss, we have to find solutions that are sound but cost effective. With flex-clone technology from IBM N series, you can mount a snapshot of your data as a clone of the active file system. This could be a virtual machine to an exchange database. A clone does not consume any space unless the data is changed or new data is added. For example, a test of the SQL database that is 20GB, once the clone is created the clone consumes 0 GB amount of space. If the cloned database is attached to the server and your DB does some testing by adding some new records, say 10mb, the total amount of space needed to test the recovery is only 10mb.
Storage administrators can perform this test on the primary system or a secondary system with our snapmirror option. Snapmirror allows an admin to asynchronous or synchronously send data to another N series unit. Typically the secondary site is smaller system with mainly cheaper and denser drives. Mirrored data sits on the secondary system as read only but can be cloned and tested with out interrupting the mirror relationship. The setup is simple and has some throttle mechanisms to not saturate your connection between sites.
For those of you who run VMWare, you have all of this scripted and tested with Site Recovery Manager. SRM will use both flex clone and snapmirror technology to allow you to test or simulate a failure in the primary site. More information can be found on youtube.
If you have a N series system now, all of this technology is built in and we can turn it on using a key. If you want to ‘kick the tires’ and see how this technology will help you make your DR plan a solid realistic plan, contact your local IBM Storage Sales rep.