Tag Archives: Disaster Recovery

Controlled DR Testing vs. Unplanned DR Testing

Recently I did a post on Disaster Recovery, well I just went through a simulated test which I believe is good. It provided a plethora of information on gaps that we need to shore up on.

One of the things that came to my mind though during this simulated test is most companies that I’ve worked with in the past have an annual Disaster Recovery. Then my mind wondered some more and thought about not only the frequency but what about a total unplanned Disaster Recovery test.

I’m very curious to what others think about this topic and what they are doing. Things that I would like to see are:

  1. Frequency – how often do you DR test
  2. Is your DR environment the same as your prod environment in terms of hardware, sizing, etc. or do you just have enough to get by
  3. Planned or Unplanned – do you have a totally planned simulation or do you have a select view individuals know and then trigger a DR on a certain date
  4. What is your favorite method for bringing data over to DR site
  5. Do you have checklists in place

These are just a few of the topics that ran through my head over the weekend. If you get time drop me a line and let me know your thoughts, and please feel free to expound on any of the topic related to DR.

What Is A Disaster?

One of my ex-colleagues recently approached me and asked me what really is considered a disaster recovery? There have been and will continue to be many discussions on this topic so much so that I’m sure I won’t encapsulate all that needs to be discussed, but I will express some of my views.

I believe every business needs to  have a strong disaster recovery plan in place. I have found in my own experiences that building a formidable disaster recovery plan can prove difficult as it is something most business leaders do not want to think about, but is something everyone needs to plan for. To me if I had to define out what a disaster recovery is I would state it this way. The ability to continue work after any number of catastrophic events – this could entail hacking, virus’ and up through natural disasters such as fires, floods, or tornadoes. I’ve heard people say that having a disaster recovery plan in place takes little time and effort – I tend to disagree. I believe it needs to be thought out and practiced on a routine basis.

Each business is different, but I do believe that disaster recovery must take into consideration a few things:

  1. How is the business run
  2. What are all the elements that are required to keep the business going.

Having a generic disaster recovery plan in place, while better than nothing at all I assume, is not the way I would approach it. I really do believe it should be tailored to what the business needs are. Just copying a template of someone else’s recovery plan or design can provide perhaps some great ideas but could and probably will leave out some critical aspects of what your business needs are.

I am a firm believer in planning up front; crafting an individual disaster recovery plan; mapping out the most critical aspects of the business; and then implementing on how and what the processes are to ensure process flow is maintained.

A friend of mine experienced a disaster not long ago, the company did not have a steady disaster recovery plan in place and the one they did have was years old. Needless to say they had to learn a lesson the hard way. I ask this question with the utmost respect and urgency as a DBA, in the event of a disaster, will your business have the ability to pick up the pieces, get back to work, or will things grind to a dead halt?

Do I think it is possible to plan for every event, no I do not; however I do believe wholeheartedly that it is possible to have a solid, firm disaster recovery plan in place that can make all the difference when a disaster does hit. Disaster recovery is to me in  my experiences a difficult but necessary topic of business. I hope that you never have to rely on a disaster recovery plan, but if you do at some point you will definitely be glad that you planned ahead for it.