This week, many of my colleagues are preparing for Winter Storm Juno. One of my compatriots actually warned his friends on Facebook that he was going to run around supermarket aisles telling folks “We’re all going to die!!”
But seriously, it wasn’t that many years ago that IT folks would shrug their shoulders with the acknowledgement that “If you haven’t prepared for this months ago, there is no hope for you now.” And in every crowd, there would be some IT folks that quietly acknowledged that they never got around to preparing for a regional crisis or any other significant IT disruption. Those folks promised themselves that as soon as this weather pattern (or other pending calamity) was over, they would do better. And then the crisis passed and those IT folks spent the first few days afterward catching up on what slowed down during the storm, and then naively continued on without ever really changing their DR preparedness.
We’ve all done it: We’ve all at some point cried out, “God, if I get through this, I am going to change” (either in IT or life) – and most of us have likely survived whatever the crisis was and then continued on without that change.
You Can Prepare For Tomorrow’s Disaster!
While it would be wholly irresponsible of me to suggest that you can do BC/DR planning in a day, you can do the most essential step – GET YOUR DATA OUT OF THE BUILDING.
If your servers are virtualized, they are (trans)portable.
If you have a credit card, you can get a secondary data center in the cloud.
The combination of those two wonderful realities is disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS).
And while there is much more to BC/DR planning than “Create Account, Install Replication Software, Click [Start]” … those actions alone can provide you with a copy of your VMs in a survivable location.
“But that isn’t real BC/DR!!”
TRUE! If you actually need to use them, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do a little work to get them bootable within the cloud or replicate them back down someplace else – but at least it gives you an option. To do nothing except shrug your shoulders is to accept that your personal BC/DR plan is an updated job resume.
“But the storm is already here – I won’t get everything copied over!!”
Maybe not – but if you don’t do something, you won’t have copies of anything. Good luck in your next job and please pass on your regrets to your former colleagues who are also out of work.
“Other than making copies, I don’t know anything about real BC/DR.”
Fair enough – but the good news is that DRaaS providers often provide that kind of consulting expertise, as well as their data center and technology. BC/DR is about planning, as much as technology, but the good news is that it isn’t as hard as you might think, with the right partner.
“Not all of my servers are virtualized!”
Why not?! Unless you have a mammoth multi-server database running on an archaic OS and a support agreement that is tied to the entire stack running on original hardware, then virtualize it! Some replication technologies will even protect physical production servers and convert them into virtual BC/DR servers. You probably shouldn’t do that without testing (not this week), but at least get your data out of the building … and once you’ve replicated and converted the physical servers to VMs, do some tests and you’ll likely discover that they run just fine that way. Virtualize everything.
Are you out of excuses yet?
Then get your data out of the building and keep your people safe -- and when you’ve survived this potential calamity, look into real BC/DR by first looking at DRaaS.