Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
However with server virtualisation technology it has become much less expensive and simple to manage. Solutions such as Microsoft Hyper-V can provide periodic replication of your virtualised servers to Hyper-V servers at a remote office or datacentre. Only the data that changes is transferred allowing replication to run across Internet or Lan connections.
Having a disaster recovery solution can allow you to bring up your servers in a short amount of time following a hardware failure or disaster scenario, this will help to protect your business and its reputation by limiting downtime to minutes rather than the days needed to purchase hardware and restore from tape backups. This is because replication maintains a powered off version of your server at the remote site.
Another thing to consider when planning a DR strategy is moving your phone system to a Voice over IP (VoIP) system. VoIP systems use phones or software connected to an Internet based phone system this allows your employees to be on their normal phone number even if working from home or a remote office.
Most businesses will have PC’s with specialist applications such as finance software; these can also be virtualised periodically and replicated to a remote Hyper-V server.
With the addition of Remote Desktop Services users can use their own PC’s, Macs or laptops to connect in and have access to their applications immediately without installing any complex software. Using this approach can also give access to a virtualised workstation if needed for more specialised applications.
Using Hyper-V to replicate your servers requires them to run as virtual servers rather than directly on physical hardware, this gives you a number of benefits other than replication. Using virtualised servers allows you to take snapshots before upgrading or installing software enabling you to roll back changes if things do not go as planned, they also allow portability of the server meaning that if you have a hardware problem you can easily move the virtualised server to a different host allowing you to better manage downtime. Virtualised servers can also allow more efficient use of your hardware saving you money on maintenance costs and power consumption.
Restoring your data to a new hardware platform in the event of a DR situation can be as problematic as any new install. Using replication removes the chances of incompatibly as you are taking a copy of your running server as installed and used at your site.
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