– Liat Malki, Director of Marketing at Axxana
Are you working for an organization that is considering upgrading from a single data center to a two-data-center strategy? If so, you are not alone. It doesn’t take more than a quick internet search to confirm that, regardless of industry, geography, or company size, operating out of a single data center is an approach for the previous century.
Having two data centers, especially when they are separated by a significant distance, brings so many advantages, it’s difficult to name them all, but here are just a few:
- The ability to increase the frequency and quality of disaster recovery testing
- The ability to perform site maintenance and upgrades, while maintaining application availability
- The ability to rapidly restore applications and continue operations in the event of a regional disaster
For organizations with a single data center, some continue to use tape for backup. This gives organizations the theoretical ability to restore applications at any 3rd-party location where they can ship the tapes. But theory and practice are often very different. The 3rd-party disaster recovery provider has to have the appropriate infrastructure to run the applications and restore the data, and, just as importantly, the disaster recovery site has to be available. In a regional disaster, both conditions may be extremely difficult to meet. Even if the entire required infrastructure is in place and available, the recovery time for applications, when applications and data are stored on tape, may be unacceptably long.
Some organizations have eliminated tape and migrated to disk-based backup methods, leveraging various techniques for creating application-consistent snapshots. This approach can dramatically improve recovery times, but again, requires that the 3rd-party recovery location have all the necessary equipment and software in order to run the applications, once the applications and data are restored. And, again, the location must be unoccupied.
The reason organizations use third-party disaster recovery service providers is, in part, because they don’t want to absorb the full cost of having a second location sitting idle, just in case a disaster happens. It is cost prohibitive for most organizations. But forward-thinking companies have recognized that application development and test environments can be re-purposed for production applications, when a disaster occurs. In this way, no infrastructure is wasted, and no systems are sitting idle. A two-data center architecture, with development, test, and disaster recovery in one location, and production in the other, provides the ideal approach for both resource efficiency and resiliency.
The biggest challenge for organizations may be to determine the best way to get all of the current application data from the primary production location to the development, test, and disaster recovery location. Asynchronous replication is clearly the approach of choice, in terms of cost and flexibility for locating the secondary site, but it ensures that some data will be lost. Many of Axxana’s customers, including Animal Health International, combine asynchronous replication with disaster-proof protection of the synchronous lag. This combination gives organizations a complete solution that is both affordable and flexible.