Use virtualization to boost your disaster recovery strategy
You need a strong disaster recovery strategy because unplanned downtime can hurt your business in several ways. . It can stagger the flow of your revenue, lower your teams’ productivity, and make you appear unreliable to your customers. Outages may also make you vulnerable to data breaches and, consequently, more likely to incur penalties, especially if you are in a regulated sector like finance and healthcare.
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of downtime. You can, however, take steps to keep it as brief as possible when it does occur, thereby minimizing its impact on your company and your customers. This is where disaster recovery and virtualization come into play.
What is disaster recovery?
The loss of access to crucial data, such as inventory and customer information, can paralyze your business. Disaster recovery prevents data loss caused by disruptive natural (e.g., hurricanes) and man-made (e.g., cyberattacks) events by ensuring you have access to updated backups of your company data. This enables you to immediately resume normal operations after a disaster.
In disaster recovery, it’s important that you have multiple copies of your files. The 3-2-1 rule helps you meet this requirement. This rule entails having three copies of your data (the actual data and two backup copies) on two different media file types. Furthermore, one copy must be stored in an off-site storage location.
What is virtualization?
As its name suggests, virtualization means turning a tangible IT resource like a computer into a software version of it. For instance, you can virtualize your office desktop, allowing you to access it outside the office using your smartphone or personal computer at home. The virtual desktop contains everything your actual office desktop has (such as its operating systems, apps, preferred settings, and files). This makes it just as capable of helping you complete your tasks just as its tangible, real-world counterpart.
The number of applications for virtualization has expanded over the years. Today, it’s possible to virtualize a huge variety of IT resources, including files of different sizes, as well as entire servers and networks.
How can you use virtualization to improve disaster recovery?
Virtualization can support and bolster your disaster recovery strategy in the following ways:
Simplify backup storage
Observing the 3-2-1 rule means you’ll need to secure multiple storage media for your backups and their copies. If your company handles large volumes of data, you may have to use multiple servers to store these files. Unfortunately, physical servers are not only expensive, but they also come with significant power and cooling requirements that can ramp up your utility expenses.
Virtualization allows you to create multiple virtual servers that you can run on a single physical server. This lets you maximize the usage of your servers and may even eliminate the need to buy additional hardware just to accommodate your backups, helping you save a lot of money.
Speed up recovery
Nowadays, disaster recovery strategies are concerned with ensuring that downtime has little to no effect on your operations and your customers’ experience. As such, you must be able to regain your data within seconds, if possible.
Some virtualization solutions now permit users to boot backups into virtual machines within a few milliseconds — that’s a few thousandths of a single second. What’s more, the process is almost instantaneous, even when the virtual machine is several terabytes in size.
Ensure the reliability of your backups
Backups can sometimes fail, which is why it’s essential to examine every step of your recovery process before implementing it. If you want to see whether restored systems function properly, you can test your backups using virtual machines. This will allow you to identify areas that need tweaking and consequently avoid costly and disastrous backup mistakes.
Downtime can occur anytime and for reasons that are beyond your control. Investing in disaster recovery and virtualization will make your business better prepared and equipped to address downtime and avoid its negative effects.