During a recent Twitter conversation about disaster recovery and business continuity testing, I began to consider how we communicate during a disaster. We do so not with normal communication methods, but more often than not with an interrupting form of communication—one in which constant requests for updates, criticisms, and outright demands for attention are directed at those who are doing the work of recovering a system. During a disaster recovery effort, communication breaks down. Why? Generally, not enough testing has been performed to document communication issues or any other types of issues. How can we improve this communication, or even get the proper people involved, when six feet of snow, water, or mud surrounds our place of work?
Data Protection is much more than verifying that you have a valid backup. While the recovery of your data is important, Data Protection also encompasses data life cycle management, business continuity, disaster recovery, and continuous data protection as they pertain to virtualized and cloud environments. This topic also examines how to secure and monitor the passing of data between disparate environments and how to increase the scale of data to be protected in shorter periods of time. (Read More)
How to manage the security and protection of your environment in order to safeguard your crown jewels has always been important. However, it has never been more so than today, when data-breach announcements are common and everyone from nation-states to teenagers in their bedrooms have access to powerful tools for breaking in.
Attending Gigaom Structure was an exercise in getting fire-hosed with the leading edge innovation that public cloud providers are bringing to their customers worldwide. These innovations not only will have a profound effect on public cloud computing, but also will ultimately impact data center architectures, costs, and benefits worldwide.
Backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity have changed quite a bit over the years, and they will continue to change into the future as more capability, analytics, and functionality are added to the general family of data protection tools. As we launch ourselves into the clouds, we need to perhaps rethink how we do data protection, what tools are available for data protection, and how to use our older tools to accomplish the same goals. We need an integrated data protection plan that not only accounts for cloud or data center failures but also accounts for the need to run within the cloud. There is always the need to get your data there and back again.
During the last two Virtualization Security Podcasts, the panel discussed backups as well as scripting related to backups and in general. We went further to discuss the security implications surrounding backups, including whether or not a recovery is required when a site is hacked. The latter raises an important question: what constitutes a disaster that requires recovery? Is recovery needed only for catastrophic failure (which TVP has experienced)? Is it required in response to malfeasance from a disgruntled employee? To an external cyber-attack? Do you classify cyber-attacks as disasters requiring restoration from known-good sources and restoration of data from a backup, or do you use some other means to recover?
Recently, we experienced a fairly catastrophic SAN failure: we lost two drives of a RAID-5 array. Needless to say, recovery was time-consuming, but it also pointed out some general issues with many disaster recovery, business continuity, and general architectures involved with virtual environments. Luckily, we were able to start one of the drives, let the hot-spare take over for the second failure, and recover the vast majority of our data. Yes, there was corruption, so that is where our backups came in and the ultimate dependencies for restoration. How do you recover from a catastrophic failure? Do you fail over automatically to a hot-site or cloud environment? Even if you fail over, how do you recover from a catastrophic failure?
VMware has been aggressively building and executing its hybrid cloud vision, extending the cloud outside of the data center. In line with this vision, VMware recently announced an expansion of its VMware vCloud Hybrid Service by adding disaster recovery as one of its offered services. This expansion will put VMware in direct competition with companies like IBM, Sungard AS, Amazon, Rackspace, Zerto, and others in the Recovery as a Service space.