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FAQ: Creating a VMware disaster recovery plan

A VMware disaster recovery plan reduces downtime and ensures that vital data is safe. But it involves several technical and political considerations as well as the right DR tools.

A solid VMware disaster recovery plan is critical to protecting your organization’s data and business operations...

by describing how to fail over or recover workloads in the event of an outage. Virtualization has revolutionized disaster recovery planning by allowing virtual machines (VMs) to move seamlessly between physical servers. Today, there are many VMware disaster recovery tools that can help get VMs back online faster, but those tools are worthless if IT pros don’t set realistic business goals and follow through with rigorous planning and testing.

Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about creating a VMware disaster recovery plan using Site Recovery Manager (SRM) and third-party DR tools.

How do I start creating a VMware disaster recovery plan?

The first and most important part of creating a VMware disaster recovery plan is identifying your organization’s disaster recovery goals. Many of these business decisions are actually more complex than the technical components of building a DR infrastructure. Determining which VMs are most critical to the organization is the first step in setting a recovery point objective (RPO), which will define the order in which VMs will be powered on after a disaster. Analyzing how often data will need to be backed up to the DR site will define your organization’s recovery time objective (RTO).

What factors should I consider when building a DR site?

A remote VMware disaster recovery site protects data and ensures that your business will run in the event of a disaster, but creating a disaster recovery plan can be challenging. Be prepared to inventory your current infrastructure, clearly define an RPO and RTO and then make tough decisions based on the available budget. Without proper planning, you can waste a lot of time and money as well as leave your organization vulnerable.

Do I need a VMware disaster recovery plan for a small environment?

Creating a disaster recovery plan for small environments can be difficult. But even organizations with limited staff or resources should spend some time thinking about disaster recovery. If you run only one site with a few VMs, however, a full VMware disaster recovery plan that’s supported by proprietary tools may not be necessary. In that case, a solid backup plan that allows you to recover VMs may be all you really need.

How can Site Recovery Manager help me create a VMware disaster recovery plan?

SRM helps administrators plan and recover a VMware infrastructure in the event of a disaster. SRM can reduce recovery time, prioritize the recovery of business-critical workloads and even test DR plans. However, while Site Recovery Manager can help improve DR, getting it working in your environment can be a bit complicated and pricey

What options do I have besides Site Recovery Manager?

SRM is a powerful tool used by many organizations, but some IT shops may find it too complicated or expensive for their VMware disaster recovery plans. In environments without a dedicated VMware expert, it may make sense to look beyond Site Recovery Manager and consider third-party DR tools. Some of the most popular tools include Quest Software’s vReplicator, Veeam’s Backup and Replication and Zerto’s BC/DR for Enterprises.

How does vSphere Replication simplify a VMware disaster recovery plan?

VMware vSphere Replication eliminates expensive disaster recovery storage requirements, making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to build effective DR plans. With vSphere Replication, SMBs can copy VMs from one storage type to another, regardless of storage vendor or protocol. This capability breaks down disaster recovery barriers and opens the door for organization to use less expensive storage hardware at the secondary DR site. Despite these advantages, using vSphere Replication does present some challenges and additional costs.

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