Virtualization: The ultimate disaster recovery tool

by Xtium Research

Virtualization: The ultimate disaster recovery tool

Disaster recovery (DR) isn't something that business owners think about often, but when it's needed, these tools can have an enormous impact – either positive or negative

"With DR, I think there are a lot of businesses out there that hear that and don't necessarily take it that seriously, until disaster hits," said Ray Todich, systems administrator at Associated Surgeons and Physicians.

On some level, such an attitude is understandable. Unlike many other investments, disaster recovery isn't something that benefits companies from a financial standpoint, at least not directly. It's more like insurance than anything else. 

But when disaster does strike, being insured – or, in this case, having effective recovery plans in place – can be the difference between struggling to survive and achieving continuity without much disruption.  

This is where virtual cloud hosting comes in.

"Companies can offload or backup VMs easily because it is basically just a set of files," Frank Hill, director of manufacturing business development at Stratus Technologies, recently told Manufacturing Business Technology. "Those sets of files are abstracted from underlining hardware. In a virtual environment, there's an abstraction layer, so a company can take a thumb drive, plug it in and copy the entire VM including the operating system, the application and all the configurations."

Why virtualization is ideal
Hill said that within on-premise environments, companies would have to replicate the network and move it to the "exact same server" in another location. This would have to be done repeatedly for every single application. 

So why does virtualization make such a big difference? In a recent column for SYS-CON Media, Dimension Data Principal Cloud Consultant Geoff Sinn labeled virtual cloud data centers extremely effective for disaster recovery and business continuity. That's because replication is done in reverse, he said, with vendors taking responsibility for this process as opposed to the company itself. Recovery time is also typically better in virtual environments, particularly since providers have Recovery Point Objectives to adhere to. 

Sinn also addressed the issue of cost, which by and large is one of the top impediments to organizations investing in adequate DR and BC plans. After all, business owners don't want to shell out money for something that they may or may not have to use.

Because virtual servers can be based in the cloud, companies can achieve all these enhanced recovery capabilities while still enjoying the cost-efficiency of cloud-based technology. 

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