Virtualization and disaster recovery planning: A guide on storage and server virtualization


Virtualization and disaster recovery planning: A guide on storage and server virtualization

By Eric Siebert

There are many options that you can choose from when using virtualization technology as part of an IT disaster recovery (DR) strategy. However,

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the solution you choose will probably be dictated by the amount of bandwidth available between your main site and your disaster recovery sites.
Virtualization and disaster recovery planning guide
Virtualization and disaster recovery planning guide

Virtual machine replication best practices

Storage replication and virtual machines

Using VMware Site Recovery Manager for disaster recovery

Virtual disaster recovery options

Watch out for virtualization gotchas

But how do you decide which virtualization approach is best for your business? There are many options to choose from. Should you go with storage virtualization or server virtualization? What are the pros and cons of each? Which solutions are the least expensive, and least time-consuming? Also, how much expertise is required?

In this guide on disaster recovery and virtualization, we'll look at some of the methods involving both server virtualization and storage virtualization. Our focus is on products and processes related to VMware Inc.'s vSphere, but many are very similar for other hypervisors like Citrix Systems Inc.'s XenServer and Microsoft Corp.'s Hyper-V.

Learn about virtual machine replication, storage replication, using VMware Site Recovery Manager, and other virtualization options for your disaster recovery plan in this guide.

Virtualization can provide some clear benefits for disaster recovery planning; it can help save money, time and effort, and make the often daunting task of designing and implementing a disaster recovery plan easier.

Other benefits of using virtualization as part of your IT disaster recovery strategy include:

  • Fewer physical servers needed at a disaster recovery site reduces one-time and ongoing costs, and results in less idle hardware
  • Lower cost virtual machine (VM)-level replication is storage independent and doesn't require expensive storage arrays
  • Hardware independence allows for more hardware options without compatibility issues
  • Encapsulation turns a VM into a single portable file for easier transport and deployment
  • Snapshots provide an effective method for backup of virtual machines
  • Automated failover and easier testing
  • Easier server deployment; scripting can be used to help automate many configuration and operational tasks

Editor's Tip: Click here to go to the next part of our virtualization and disaster recovery guide and learn about virtual machine replication best practices.

Part of this guide was originally published in Storage magazine.

This was first published in May 2010