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How can I manage hybrid disaster recovery architecture effectively?

When taking a hybrid disaster recovery approach -- using public and private components -- it's important to understand your requirements, assets and networks.

Using a combination of public and private network elements -- a hybrid approach -- is a good way to achieve the best of both worlds. But how does that environment affect your disaster recovery architecture?

The proliferation of as a service technologies makes it possible to build a disaster recovery (DR) platform that satisfies your requirements. You may also use a private network infrastructure, a public cloud-based infrastructure or a combination of both: a hybrid network.

One of the reasons for using a cloud-based network infrastructure is that you can reduce your overhead by eliminating the need for data center space to house networking devices. You can acquire the amount and type of network bandwidth you need, for example, and lease it per month, or use another payment method. Moving infrastructure resources outside a traditional brick-and-mortar environment and into the cloud can provide excellent economies of scale.

If you decide to go with a hybrid disaster recovery approach, be sure you know your DR requirements, which IT assets are to be protected, and the recovery time and recovery point objective for each asset.

Next, decide how you will use public and private network assets for your disaster recovery architecture. It's not uncommon to start off slowly with new cloud-based network resources, implementing lower risk applications and systems using the cloud. Over time, and assuming cloud performance and security provisions are acceptable, you can consider migrating additional virtual machines, virtualized systems and other mission-critical assets to the cloud.

An organization can implement hybrid disaster recovery using locally based failover and failback systems, remotely hosted failover and failback systems, and newer disaster-recovery-as-a-service products. The selection of a specific network arrangement to support your disaster recovery architecture should be a joint decision between your IT organization and the network provider(s).

As you deploy the hybrid disaster recovery architecture, be sure to conduct acceptance testing and perform tests of the recovery capability to ensure it works as advertised.

Over time, you may wish to change the network services from private to public, or vice versa. Work closely with your network service providers and disaster recovery provider to ensure the DR platform can migrate to the other network infrastructure. Once a migration is completed, conduct one or more tests to ensure the disaster recovery architecture continues to perform correctly.

Finally, if the change to a different network infrastructure results in changes to procedures on your DR plans, be sure to update those procedures as soon as possible.

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