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Data Center Disaster Recovery Best Practices

Updated on Jun 1, 2022 by
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Although businesses curate their data center disaster recovery (DR) plans with the hope of never actually having to use them, disasters will generally be abrupt, forceful, and cause large-scale damage. Data center disaster recovery is a technologically intense and financially essential solution for businesses to maintain operations without compromising the integrity or security of the data. In this article, we will explore the best practices for data center disaster recovery to effectively navigate the challenges pre and post disasters.

Pre-Disaster

Speaking of the best data center disaster recovery plans, nothing should supersede the practice of keeping your data and work operation safe while anticipating a disaster. Although there are several ways for businesses to return to normality in the event of a catastrophe, the best route is that of prevention. Here are the various ways you can prevent high-scale damage in a disaster.

Pre-Disaster

Hiring DRaaS

One of the best safety measures for businesses is to acquire Disaster Recovery as a Service. Outsourcing disaster recovery plans is a financially savvy and risk-free alternative for businesses low on in-house IT expertise. There are several cloud computing companies offering businesses DRaaS services that ensure your applications and data center security following a disaster.They create a virtual copy of your system, which activates when your onsite system goes into downtime. Since the virtual copy operations take place in the cloud, your business's functionality is up 24*7 even as your in-house architecture is disrupted.

Most DRaaS services are flexible in their configurations offered across multiple platforms. You must conduct proper research before hiring the best DRaaS for your business.

Automating Backups and Deploying Advanced Data Protection

Software-based methods involving geo-redundant cloud copies help store copies of your files in several off-site locations, known as DR data centers, keeping your business up and running with backup automation irrespective of the disaster that strikes. FS provides three data center disaster recovery interconnect solutions, to achieve the network transmission with high reliability and stability when a disaster strikes.

Remote Data Center Disaster Recovery Practice

The remote data center disaster recovery practice refers to the establishment of an active/standby relationship between two data centers in two places to implement data protection through backup and replication, which features the following benefits:

  • Business continuity protection across geographies, including application migration, disaster avoidance and disaster recovery

  • Effective guarantee of data consistency and service availability

  • Disaster recovery tests with no impact on production

Active-Active Data Center Practice

Site-level active-active integrates computing, storage, and network resources of two data centers located relatively close to each other to ensure service continuity. The active-active data center practice has the following characteristics:

  • Enabling city-level application migration and disaster avoidance/disaster recovery

  • Easy management and high resource utilization

  • Zero data loss, no single point of failure, high reliability and maximizing service online time

Two-Location Three-Data-Center Interconnect Practice

The two-location three-data-center interconnect practice is suitable for applications that require high service continuity. By integrating previous two solutions, it can realize zero data loss and automatic failover and resist the requirements on service continuity when a disaster occurs at the regional level.

  • Layer 1 protection: High availability between two sites in the same city with zero data loss

  • Layer 2 protection: Disaster recovery between remote data centers

Keep in mind that companies' quality of backup appliances can vary in functionality. You must conduct thorough research of the hardware and software involved in the solution of your provider before opting for one.

Having a Detailed DR Plan

Business owners know the havoc a single second's downtime can wreak. The best way to avoid this kind of downtime is prevention. After creating a detailed DR plan, businesses must document it and send copies to people responsible for getting the systems back into operation. Also, the plan must enumerate the steps needed to restore the system in a typical working environment. It will help if you do not rely on backup functions in the third-party cloud for too long.

Post Disaster

While prevention is the best cure, your system can never come out 100% undamaged in the wake of a disaster. Here's what you must do once the disruption has happened.

Identifying the Disaster Cause

After a disaster has struck, the first thing to do is to identify the cause. There are usually five common causes of disaster or system disruption:

Identifying the Disaster Cause

Hardware Failure

Equipment failure is one of the most common causes of system downtime. Prominent examples are the failure of data center storage equipment like hard drives. All hardware is prone to failure at some point. This is why companies must have a good backup in store.

Power Outages

Power outages are another likely cause of system disruption. Some outages end up damaging your computer systems, making replacements inevitable. Businesses without a DR plan can suffer greatly in such situations.

Natural Disasters

Businesses also suffer discontinuity due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, etc. While it is impossible to stop a seismological event, businesses having a sound DR plan can ensure the data center security.

Human Error

Human errors and improper training can result in significant damages. Simple accidents such as deleting an important document or failing to save the file's correct version can have dire consequences. Employees must be thoroughly trained to avoid making such errors as much as possible.

Malware and Viruses

Make sure that your systems are adequately encrypted and safe from malicious intents. An infected system can eventually contaminate the entire network. Businesses must have proper countermeasures to protect themselves from viruses and ransomware.

Prioritizing Identification and Recovery of Mission-Critical Systems

Mission-critical systems lead to the most significant damage during downtime. To avoid panic, you must prepare a list of the top mission-critical systems in advance and restore them priority. It will help prepare a list of sequential assignments that can be performed in a prescribed order.

Determining Downtime Costs

Disasters are inevitable, and once they strike, you must accept a period of downtime and financial loss, although the degree of severity can vary based on how well you are prepared. Listing down the consequences of the disaster, downtime tenure, and resulting losses can help you expedite recovery and take the proper steps for restoring the system. Once informed about the level of disruption, your remedial actions can become more laser-focused in minimizing damages.

Testing and Re-evaluating DR Systems

With your DR systems in place, you must carry out occasional tests and system evaluations to avoid any unpleasant surprises the next time a catastrophe hits.

Keep in mind that your DR plan may contain subtle errors that are missed by untrained eyes. The most certain action would be to run scenarios that test the effectiveness of your data center disaster recovery plan by introducing new challenges. It is even better if you can execute the recovery processes and see that they don't disappoint.

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