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5 Reasons DR Will Be Easier in 2014

Disaster recovery will take on more importance in the next 12 months, as we virtualize more and make our mission-critical work more vulnerable to potential loss.

Whether the IT group finally gets to retire an old application or happily implements a new piece of hardware; some amount of change to the IT landscape is inevitable in 2014 as IT professionals will once again work to address technology challenges. One challenge that has been around forever is disaster recovery, in large part because it's such a complicated and expensive proposition. Here at Veeam, we are convinced that 2014 will see DR become a much easier task for IT groups worldwide. Here's why:

1. There will truly be no reason not to virtualize.
There was a time when it was very aggressive to virtualize some of the most critical applications. Into 2014, we'll actually have a much easier journey. There are plenty of virtualization guidelines from application providers, infrastructure best practices from VMware and Microsoft, and a great deal of informal support from a strong and growing virtualization community. With all of these resources, there's no reason that new systems can't be deployed as virtual machines.

2. It will be easier to change application designs.
Frequently the biggest objection to virtualizing everything is that some application designs simply don't play well with virtualization. In 2014 and beyond, companies will be able to press for a critical change to the application (or possibly even replace it) for the sake of virtualization and its associated benefits. Additional drivers for key application changes may include the need for mobile access or real-time information and legacy applications that just can't meet some of today's requirements. Virtualizing and protecting applications in a modern fashion will serve the stakeholders best.

3. Protecting data off-site will be easier than ever.
It's one thing to provision a robust data center with incredible virtualization, networking and storage technologies. It's an entirely different discussion to have that infrastructure fully protected and available to run off-site in case of a true disaster. While it's not easy to make blanket recommendations, if workloads are virtualized it opens up an entirely new world of options to off-site protection, including storage replication, virtual machine replication, back-up data transfers with efficient networking usage, leveraging cloud storage, leveraging cloud compute and even writing backups to tape.

All decisions regarding data protection are easier if the entire data profile is virtualized.

4. Advanced storage technologies will drive key objectives.
Storage for virtualization has always been the most critical decision point, and as we sail through the year it will only take a larger role in determining the overall capability of a virtualized infrastructure. In regards to DR, what can storage do for us today?

Advanced snapshot engines, storage replication, tiering, hybrid use of solid state drives and other advancements in storage technology can all have a strong positive impact on virtualized infrastructures and how companies deliver a DR catalog.

5. The business will align more closely to the technology.
There have long been procedures and policies that document key metrics such as a Service Level Agreement (SLA), Recovery Point Objective (RPO) or a Recovery Time Objective (RTO). These metrics have been historically provided to establish IT performance levels when things go wrong.

Today's companies have higher expectations. Specifically, business groups have become accustomed to the rapid deployment processes that virtualized infrastructures have provided; traditional recovery models simply can't match these capabilities. If companies can deploy a new system in 15 minutes, should they still be at the mercy of a four-hour SLA for recovery?

Today there are plenty of DR and backup solutions that can restore virtualized workloads in just minutes; even after a key infrastructure failure (such as the SAN). Companies will have options to even provision self-directed restores for business application owners.

What is your New Year's resolution for disaster recovery? Does it involve key investments in virtualization and supporting technologies? Share your comments here.

About the Author

Doug Hazelman is the product strategist for Veeam Software. He frequently presents on behalf of Veeam at industry conferences, and shares his expertise via his blog, "VeeamMeUp" and other social media outlets. Doug advises Veeam customers and partners on best practices and key considerations as they implement and better manage their virtual server infrastructures.

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