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What are the risks of replicating our database in a SAN in our disaster recovery site?

We are setting up a disaster recovery site using a SAN disk replication, and our database will be replicated in a SAN in the DR site. What are the risks if we do this? Is this a safe solution?

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Assuming the disaster recovery (DR) site/storage area network (SAN) is offsite from your main facility -- ideally in a different city -- you should be fine. I actually have several clients that use this method and it works great for them. Just don't underestimate your need for bandwidth and be sure to document your specific disaster recovery procedures. Also, consider utilizing virtualization technologies at your DR facility. It will help cut down on system complexity, speed up the setup process and keep your costs down.

There are a few other things to consider as well such as making sure you've tested both failover and failback (in both directions). Many people assume that as long as the failover works then that's all that needs to be done. This is a big oversight. Be sure to test (and document) your procedures for getting things back up and running at your main site.

Also, if bandwidth is a concern for you, then look into wide-area network (WAN) acceleration technologies, or at least ensure your data is being compressed and you have a full and differential/incremental schedule setup so that the disaster recovery site is up to date and within your business tolerance.

For more information on disaster recovery sites and facilities, visit our page on facilities and operations for disaster recovery.

This was first published in January 2010

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