Disaster Recovery Overview: NetApp HCI DR with Cleondris

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Overview of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

The business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) model is about getting people back to work. Disaster recovery focuses on bringing technology, such as an email server, back to life. Business continuity makes it possible for people to access that email server. Disaster recovery alone would mean that the technology is working, but nobody might be using it; BCDR means that people have started using the recovered technology.

Business Impact Assessment

It is hard to know what is required to make a tier 1 application work. It is usually obvious that authentication servers and DNS are important. But is there a database server somewhere too?

This information is critical because you need to package tier 1 applications so that they work in both a test failover and a real failover. An accounting firm can perform a business impact assessment (BIA) to provide you with all the necessary information to successfully protect your applications: for example, determining the required components, the application owner, and the best support person for the application.

Application Catalog

If you do not have a BIA, you can do a version of it yourself: an application catalog. It is often done in a spreadsheet with the following fields: application name, components, requirements, owner, support, support phone number, and sponsor or business application owner. Such a catalog is important and useful in protecting your applications. The help desk can sometimes help with an application catalog; they often have already started one.

What Not to Protect

There are applications that should not be protected. For example, you can easily and cheaply have a domain controller running as a virtual machine (VM) at your disaster recovery site, so there is no need to protect one. In fact, recovering a domain controller can cause issues during recovery. Monitoring software that is used in the production site does not necessarily work in the disaster recovery site if it is recovered there.

It is usually unnecessary to protect applications that can be protected with high availability. High availability is the best possible protection; its failover times are often less than a second. Therefore, disaster recovery orchestration tools should not protect these applications, but high availability can. An example is the software in banks that support ATMs.

You can tell that you need to look at high-availability solutions for an application when an application owner has a 20-second recovery time objective (RTO). That RTO is beyond replication solutions.

Product Overview

The Cleondris HCI Control Center (HCC) adds disaster recovery capabilities to new and existing NetApp HCI deployments. It is fully integrated with the NetApp SolidFire storage engine and can protect any kind of data and applications. When a customer site fails, HCC can be used to recover all data at a secondary NetApp HCI site, including policy-based VM startup orchestration.

Setting up replication for multiple volumes can be time consuming and error prone when performed manually. HCC can help with its Replication Wizard. The wizard helps set up the replication correctly so that the servers can access the volumes if a disaster occurs. With HCC, the VMware environment can be started on the secondary system in a sandbox without affecting production. The VMs are started in an isolated network and a functional test is possible.