Disaster recovery monitoring software is emerging to give users better visibility into their disaster recovery (DR) replication environment. But there are still only a few products in the market today serving certain customers with very specific needs. Pierre Dorion, data center practice director and senior consultant at Long View Systems Inc., discusses the disaster recovery monitoring software market today, who can benefit from disaster recovery monitoring software, and its pros and cons in this Q&A. His answers are also available as an MP3 below.
Table of contents:
>> What is disaster recovery monitoring software?
>> What are the benefits of disaster recovery monitoring software?
>> What are the drawbacks of disaster recovery monitoring software?
>> Who needs disaster recovery monitoring software?
>> What vendors offer disaster recovery monitoring software?
Disaster recovery monitoring software, as it exists today, scans your server and storage environment and gathers information about the configuration, and more specifically, changes to the configuration. Typically, as your configuration changes, you probably are not tracking it. And when that happens, your disaster recovery strategies or procedures can become obsolete quickly.
Increased visibility is the main benefit, but there are some other benefits as well. Its design allows you to do a sanity check on your high availability clusters and data replication. It gives you the ability to monitor these things on a schedule. This allows you to capture changes as they take place. It's not once a month or whenever you look at your disaster recovery documentation. This proactive monitoring is a lot more effective than, say, a once a month or once every six months disaster recovery test.
As I said before, it's designed for specifically for data replication and high availability clustering. It's very focused, so I would not consider it a full disaster recovery proofing tool. In fact, it might even instill a false sense of security. So that is something to watch out for.
Since these products are so focused on replication and high availability, it is important to consider other aspects of your DR plan – for example tape backups. If you are making changes in other areas, it's not going to read your DR plan and tell you it's out of date.
If you are doing a lot of data replication and a lot of highly critical applications and high availability configuration and you have a dynamic environment with a lot of changes, then this type of software is a good fit. Conversely, if you have a very static environment with little replication and high availability configuration, it would be tough to justify the expense.
There's not a whole lot in the market today. It's a niche market, so you aren't going to see a whole lot of vendors coming out with these types of products right now. There's two that I can think of today: There's RecoverGuard 4.0 from Continuity Software and Symantec Corp. has the CommandCentral Disaster Recovery Advisor.