How does server virtualization affect the way you do disaster recovery?
This is a very interesting and timely question. There is a lot of talk these days about virtualization and disaster recovery. Virtualization allows you to combine many applications or servers on a single physical server so that each application functions independently but is actually on a single server.
So now you have several applications or servers in a single physical server. If you design the virtual environment optimally, you might have your high-priority applications on a single platform. How does this help in disaster recovery? If you have ever tried to set up servers from scratch, or perform a bare-metal restore, you know that these need to be completed sequentially. And, this process isn’t always as clean as you might hope. So, if you have perhaps five applications to restore, there is a large time span until the fifth server is available. In a virtualized environment, you set up a single (or minimal) server and operate many applications, so the time lag for availability is reduced.
Additionally, in virtual environments, you can have applications that usually operate on different hardware platforms. This can be a huge savings in dollars and time when setting up a disaster recovery environment.
One thing to consider when designing a virtual environment, keep the priority of the applications in mind. I have seen some situations where storage or other criteria is used as design factors for virtualization. This could lead to having an application not required for 24 hours be on the same virtual server that is in more immediate need.
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