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The future of DR orchestration goes beyond recovery

What's next for disaster recovery orchestration? As tools grow and change, orchestration may soon go beyond disaster recovery, as well as aid in planning.

Disaster recovery orchestration is quickly becoming an essential addition to primary storage replication tools, data protection products and backup software.

DR orchestration is a way to automate disaster recovery processes. As orchestration matures, it will not just simplify the entire disaster recovery process, it will also significantly reduce costs.

As orchestration in DR evolves, expect to see new capabilities and uses for it in IT. Below, we cover five ways you can expect to see DR orchestration grow down the road.

Enabling multi-tier disaster recovery

Modern backup hardware and software tools can all support recovering the application directly on the backup storage, which means they, at some point, change from backup storage to production storage. The backup storage infrastructure should support flash for mission-critical applications, hard disk drives for less critical applications/data and tape for non-critical data.

At the same time, not all data is created equal and IT does not need to recover all data at the same time. In most cases during a disaster, IT only needs the most recently accessed or changed data first; older data can be restored later if the organization needs it. As a result, only the most recent copy of the most critical applications should back up to flash media.

Without orchestration, managing recovery for multiple tiers of backup storage is incredibly difficult, which may explain why most backup storage architectures today are single-tier. DR orchestration will enable IT to use multiple tiers easily and to automatically recover data to the correct tier at the right time.

Automatic DR plan creation

Most DR orchestration tools today can report on what IT configured them to do, but this report is hardly a DR plan. A disaster recovery plan is a complex, ever-evolving process and needs accurate and updated documentation. The next generation of orchestration tools will automatically create a thoroughly documented disaster recovery plan suitable for auditors. DR orchestration will also continually monitor the recovery capabilities and compare them to the plan so it can alert IT when it is out of compliance, long before an audit finds it.

Enabling cloud recovery

Cloud recovery often isn't as simple as starting a virtual machine in the cloud; it requires transforming or converting that VM or moving the VM to something like VMware on AWS/Azure. It also requires making specific network configuration changes. These steps take time and introduce the possibility of an error. Orchestration automates these steps and will make cloud recovery more realistic than it has been thus far.

Doing more with DR

Orchestration enables disaster recovery for other use cases because the environment is so easy to start. For example, IT can use DR orchestration to spin up a test/dev or analytics environment very quickly and without much frustration. The ability to use an investment in orchestration beyond DR makes it easier to justify.

Automating more than DR

DR orchestration can even evolve to orchestrating more than DR. Backup software and hardware vendors are already integrating with primary storage snapshots. They could quickly expand that functionality to provide the ability to provision volumes, set media protection levels and automatically ensure that the backup software protects the newly provisioned volumes.

DR orchestration is becoming a must-have DR capability. It enables IT to execute disaster recovery processes consistently, and it may be the only way that they can hope to keep up with the ever-changing data center. In the future, it will enable IT to pass DR audits with a click of a button and to monitor compliance with the plan constantly while also enabling other use cases.

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