Michael Denapoli, solutions architect at Vision Solutions (www.visionsolutions.com), says:

DR (disaster recovery) planning itself is the biggest challenge. Deciding where to fail over, how fast systems must be brought online to avoid business impact and what infrastructure will be bought/leased/borrowed to provide the DR platform is a large-scale project that will require the assistance of multiple persons and departments. Double-Take Availability can help simplify many components of DR, but a full DR plan is a much bigger project than simply deciding what technology to use to provide a failover and recovery method.

The best way to overcome these challenges is to build DR into the equation right from the start. As soon as the software and hardware is decided on, it’s time to start thinking about how to protect it. By making DR part of implementation planning, you eliminate the need to try to retrofit a DR solution into an already complex application that’s further complicated because it is already configured and running in production.

Look for solutions that are not limited to one hardware, virtualization and/or software platform. Pick tools that can be used both on different systems and in different ways. Not every system’s DR will look or act the same, and they should therefore not be treated the same. You need a tool-kit, not a single wizard.

Also, take the time to really dig into the requirements for a given system. Every line-of-business manager wants zero downtime, but 98% of them will not want it anymore when they see what that level of Recovery Time Objective actually costs. When presented with the numbers, most will agree to more reasonable requirements, giving you more flexibility.

Double-Take Availability allows enterprise datacenters to gain a remarkable amount of flexibility in how, when and where they will perform High Availability and Disaster Recovery. Using only native tools will leave gaps in HA and DR plans, while also forcing staff to learn dozens of different tools they have to monitor and manage.

Double-Take Availability provides a coordinated set of tools across Windows, Linux and AIX, limiting the number of technologies staff isrequired to learn, and also reducing the number of vendors that need to be contacted if the unexpected happens.

The Double-Take Availability solution set should rank just behind deciding which technologies are going to be used in production. Once the combination of physical and virtual hardware is decided; and the selection of software products to be installed is finalized, the time to decide how to provide HA and DT has come.

In some cases, HA and DR are part of a company-wide, coordinated effort; which will define timing. Otherwise, as soon as a production server moves from selection to implementation, it’s time to talk about DR.