In the world filled with numerous cybercrimes, it is imperative for all organizations to be prepared to face disasters that could affect their systems at any time. There are many options to safeguard your systems against the various threats, the best one being virtualization. It helps reduce the time required to get your systems up and running after they’ve been hit by a disaster. Before going into the details of disaster recovery with virtualization, let’s go briefly through what virtualization is.
Virtualization, by definition, is the process of creating a virtual version of a system, software, or even an entire working environment rather than creating a physical replica. With virtualization, you can create multiple simulated environments/dedicated resources using a single hardware system. It helps you split a single system into multiple distinct environments called virtual machines.
The physical system on which the various virtual machines are created is called the host, and the virtual machines are called guests. Virtualization provides a means of recovery from disasters for organizations.
Virtualization has been a part of the disaster recovery plan for organizations for a long time now. To make the best use of this recovery plan in your disaster management strategy, it is crucial to plan your strategy effectively to get the most out of it. Following are some points to remember while planning and executing your disaster recovery strategy/plan using virtualization:
Virtual Machines (VM) are a huge part of organizations’ systems. From servers to databases and business applications, virtual machines are a part of all business processes. However, not all of these numerous virtual machines are critical to the functioning of your organization. Some VMs are more important than others.
Here, we need to understand that the more resources we need to restore, the more is the time required for the system to start functioning after a disaster. Thus, to reduce this time, it is vital to identify the main virtual machines for your organization. Make sure they are monitored closely and backed up regularly.
To start with, you will need to decide on the most apt software for creating and storing the backup in the virtual environment for your recovery strategy. A solution that provides the capability of getting your working environment running while the files are being transferred back to your main host system would prove to be useful.
What we should understand here is that a snapshot is not the same as a backup. Snapshots are the state and data of the system at that point in time and are often stored in the same storage as the virtual machine. In this scenario, if there is a hardware failure, the snapshot would be lost as well. Thus, it is necessary to store a backup of the virtual machine in the host rather than where the virtual machine resides.
It is a good practice to have the primary site and the disaster recovery site in different locations. This is because, if the primary site is affected, there would still be a good probability that the disaster recovery site is not affected. This arrangement also makes it necessary to have good connectivity between the two sites for backup as well as for the recovery process.
The next thing we should to do here is, thorough testing of the system in place. Although it might not be feasible to test the entire recovery system all at once, it can be tested in parts.
It is necessary to test the system properly for regular backups. We should also check the system for the time required, and the recovery process as well to make sure no issues arise during the process.
While it reduces our workload, automation also reduces the possibility of human error, as well. Automating tasks such as regular backups will ensure that at no point in time, a scheduled backup is missed. This makes sure you are prepared against any disaster at any point in time.
Various tools are available in the market for data recovery from virtual machines files.
This tool provides recovery for data from VDI, VMDK, and VHD image files. It helps recovery all the data, including office files, images, video, audio, backup, and any other files that you might have.
Stellar Data Recovery for the virtual machine is capable of recovering data from virtual volumes that are inaccessible from your virtual machines due to corruption. It lets you store the recovered files in any location of your choice such as the FTP server or your local hard disk. It supports virtual drives created on Windows and Linux based systems.
Rocket Virtual Data Recovery automates the creation and recovery of cataloged virtual tape data backups and stores the backups on a remote or local device. It creates stacked copies of the backups to high-density media, thus reducing media and media-handling costs.
Rocket Virtual Data Recovery’s architecture allows users to create multiple copies of critical data sets and store them in non-virtual or other virtual locations.
Double-Take provides data replication and failover features in their software product. It provides continuous real-time replication for data and server, which can be recovered at any time in case of failure at the location of your choice. Double-Take offers protection for Windows servers and applications such as for Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange Server.
Double-Take allows you to specify business-critical data that needs to be protected and replicates that data from source to the target. The source is where the original data resides, and target is the site of replicated data.
As data and systems are crucial for any organization, they tend to invest in redundancies of their systems to ensure there is always a fail-safe. There are many solutions available in the market which provide virtualization of your system and allow for seamless backups and restoration. It is all about finding the right suit for your organization, and then you are free to conduct business without worrying about your data.