Tag Archives: Recovery Time Objectives (RTO)

Tips For Effective Backup & Recovery Testing

When a server cannot work properly due to hard drive failure, companies call recovery service providers to restore the equipment. Downtime creates problems for companies; therefore, they want to get an immediate support. If you are unable to find an appropriate way to handle downtime, the end users’ anger will mount and their trust on your capabilities will erode. There is something more important than simple backup and disaster recovery plan to stop such frustrating situations. In other words, take your time and test your ability to recover your data before you face your clients’ wrath. For an effective cloud backup as well as recovery testing, you must know the answer to all of the relevant questions. These questions help you in getting valid information for testing your strategy.

What are the Reasons to Test?
When a service provider signs an agreement with its client, on time services is considered crucial part of the agreement. To achieve RTOs, it is necessary to perform some testing. Through testing, you will get information on how fast you can recover. When processes related to recovery are already practiced, you do not feel any difficulty while executing them in real time environment. Moreover, testing develops confidence in clients, as they get surety you will recover easily.

What are the Required Equipments and Processes to Test?
Test cloud backup and local backup plan thoroughly. However, it is far from the possibility realm to do everything within a day. You must think about essential equipments that are suitable for this infrastructure. It is a fact, each failure is dissimilar to the other. You must have some priorities while selecting equipments to test.

How to Test?
Check whether it is possible to view functions of backup image through recovery of folder and file, or change the backup into virtual machine to confirm whether it will boot up to function just like actual VM. Procedure of testing is directly proportional to selection of equipment.

Who is Accountable for Recovery Plan and Backup Testing
A well managed cloud backup company will assign one of their employees to check who, when, why, and what of testing; as it is simple to find which clients have been ignored. Do not overlook any client; and make sure all equipments are tested systematically.

When Plan was Tested & When Will Tested in Future?
Getting into detail of disaster recovery plan needs to verify maintenance records and designing spreadsheet to check what, how and when was tested, who had tested and what were the end results. Keeping information of testing record and maintenance process is highly important; therefore, prepare documents cautiously concerning what is tested and what will be the strategy to test in the future.

Do not Procrastinate
Keep in mind that testing your backups should never be done at the time when a disaster strikes. Rather, it should be planned and tested well in advance, preferably as soon as a client signs up, and also periodically there after. The more you have know-how of recovery procedures and environment, the better you will be prepared to assist clients avoid downtime. It should be the foremost preference of a confident service provider to test cloud back and all recovery plans to know about recovery in detail.

Test the Cloud—Trials are for Free—Part I

You do not have to buy anything before you convince yourself that the cloud is ‘just what you need’.  Download trial versions of different cloud services and see how your applications and workloads perform before you take the next step of accepting or rejecting cloud computing.

Getting the best out of the trial version of cloud software (any software for that matter) requires some effort and hard work on your part.  You need to have an exact and accurate idea of your data loads, workflows, backup and recovery requirements, time frames, reporting requirements, disaster recovery compulsions, recovery point objectives (RPO), recovery time objectives (RTO) and so on.  Without this information, launching on a trial is as good as useless.

If you have ascertained all of the above, you are ready for your trial.  You need to use simulated or actual data to create the right computing environment you are likely to use.  You may like to replicate the effort by downloading trials from more than one cloud service provider, so that you have the data for comparison. You may like to conduct extensive research in parallel on what the cloud service offers you—the enterprise—in the service level agreement (SLA) and what kind of reputation does the service provider have, etc., while you are busy simulating your computing environment over the Internet hands-on.

Experts recommend that it is best to start small and then go full hog.  They would rightly advise you to migrate non-critical systems first and then a few critical systems to see what kind of performance metrics you get.  Appointing a test group for the purpose of the test is generally a very good idea.  They can keep a record of the performance and the problems experienced during the trial.

Ideally, the trial should be a three to six-month trial.  Many cloud vendors will allow you the luxury if they think you are a big customer—they cannot afford to lose—or you are a very serious customer, who will ultimately subscribe to their services.   Otherwise, most trial versions are available for free for a period of 30 days.

Make sure, that the trial versions you are downloading are fully functional. A few vendors bar some features from the trial version and this can be very annoying. You may not be able to fully test the potential of the software during the trial.

Part II of this article is found here: Testing the Cloud –Trials, are for Free— Part II

Disaster Recovery of Backed up Virtual and Physical Machines

Not being prepared for disaster is not an option. Total environmental duplication is expensive.  Attempting to recover only when there has been an incident is tempting the fates. These traditional approaches to disaster recovery create a lot of uncertainty and even stress for the organisation.

The growing sophistication of the cloud holds out a promise for backup and recovery of both physical and virtual machines.  Cloud backup vendors are “disaster aware” and make elaborate provisions for recovery of their customer data. The disaster recovery efforts indirectly benefit customers who sign up for cloud based backup and recovery accounts.

At the core of the disaster recovery best practices that is instituted by the cloud vendor is—data replication. Replication helps the vendor rotate the backed up customer data offsite.  The replications use high-speed connections for streaming the data and double protecting it.  The replication servers are separated geographically from each other, to protect the information against natural disasters that may impact any single data centre.  The vendor may create a hot site and a disaster recovery site with failover provisioning to ensure that customers always have access to their data even when the primary server experiences a shut down.

However, it should be noted that virtual machine replication is a complex task and not all cloud vendors have the technology required for the purpose.  Traditionally, the data contained in the virtual machine has streamed through the primary server before it is backed up to the replication server.  When the virtual machine has to be restored, the virtual machine can be brought online by restoring the virtual disk to the production stage.  All this may take a lot of time, and time is the scarce commodity during a disaster.

Improved cloud replication management technologies allow cloud vendors directly stream the data from the virtual machine to both the primary and secondary servers directly.  This enables instant recovery of the virtual machine (which exists in the production stage on the secondary server) even when the primary server experiences an outage.   Disaster recovery plans can be implemented instantly. Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) can be tightly coordinated. Check with your cloud vendor on this point.

The integration of VM replication with the data protection solutions offered by your vendor is a bonus. It will empower your organisation and keep you prepared for all kinds of disasters.

Our Customers

  • ATOS
  • Age UK
  • Alliance Pharma
  • Liverpool Football Club
  • CSC
  • Centrica
  • Citizens Advice
  • City of London
  • Fujitsu
  • Government Offices
  • HCL
  • LK Bennett
  • Lambretta Clothing
  • Leicester City
  • Lloyds Register
  • Logica
  • Meadowvale
  • National Farmers Union
  • Network Rail
  • PKR

Sales question? Need support? Start a chat session with one of our experts!

For support, call the 24-hour hotline:

UK: 0800 999 3600
US: 800-220-7013

Or, if you've been given a screen sharing code:

Existing customer?

Click below to login to our secure enterprise Portal and view the real-time status of your data protection.

Login to Portal