issue number 1 // april 2008
Virtualized Disaster Recovery:
Obvious Benefits, Hidden Obstacles
Virtualization alone—no matter how advanced—
will not be enough to save you in a disaster if you
haven’t planned for a virtual recovery.
“are you ready to expand your virtual machines?”
As an IT Director of a medium-sized (or any-sized) company with virtual servers, you’ve experienced
the benefits of virtualization. Virtual machines (VM) have cut your infrastructure costs and increased
your flexibility to respond to changing business demands. Senior executives and internal departments
have seen the advantages inherent in virtualization and want to increase the number of virtual servers.
You want to expand the number of virtual servers to meet the growing need, but you also worry about
“server sprawl” given your budget and ROI requirements. When you overlay the need to protect these
additional virtual servers and their applications in the event of an unplanned outage, you worry even
more about the complexity of it all and your ever-tightening budget.
“or, are you ready for your first virtual machines?” servers on the same brand or kind of physical x86 hardware.
As an IT Director of a small or mid-sized business with A virtual server tuned for virtual recovery doesn’t know the
limited IT resources, you’ve been evaluating virtualization difference.
but want to make sure you plan and execute a cost effective
solution. As you bring the significant benefits of VMs into the power of Green it
your data center for the first time, you also need to think
Fewer servers operating at higher utilization rates can
about what a disruption means to your disaster recovery
reduce the energy needed to run and cool data centers.
plans and RTOs in a virtualized production and back-up
Energy savings are attractive to customers and vendors
alike when paying out the initial investment in virtualization.
Whether you are expanding your virtual capacity Better yet, your customers (and ours) are increasingly
or are about to embrace virtualization, will you be seeking green suppliers as concern increases over their
own and vendors’ carbon footprints.
ready for vm disaster recovery?
If you get that dreaded “call in the middle of the night”—
the one that tells you the cooling has failed and the server virtualization heightens both opportunities
is fried, or that the data center is soggy from a flood, or and risks.
the power is down and out for the count — will you have Virtualization’s single biggest benefit, more servers
a disaster recovery plan and processes that back-up and with less hardware, is the much needed solution to the
restore your virtual server environment? geometric increase in applications and data, the rising
expectations of IT, and the ever-tightening budget and
So, before you exploit virtualization even more or introduce
productivity demands. IT Directors can now increase
it into your data center, now is the time to prepare the
utilization, respond flexibly to internal and external
plan, processes, personnel, and configurations necessary
priorities and reduce infrastructure costs. Virtualization
for virtualized DR.
has given IT directors and staff more control, agility, and
sunGard availability services helps you capacity to transform IT from its support role to a strategic
maximize the benefits and navigate the obstacles driver of core competencies, competitive advantage and
in a virtualized disaster recovery plan and business results. Yet, it is not without multiple layers of risk.
it directors and staff who are new to virtualization
may think virtual back-up and recovery are easier.
Obvious Benefits: How it’s more difficult. here’s why.
virtualization improves DR
portability Hidden Obstacles:
Today, virtualized disaster recovery represents an Look before you leap.
innovative, yet practical application of virtualization’s
greatest feature—portability. Virtualized DR facilitates a common mistake
failover from one partition to another partition in the same It’s impossible to ensure the true availability of VM within
server or to another server located in the same data center.
the same server or to another server within the same data
This same portability facilitates faster recovery times when
center when a disaster compromises an entire data center.
third-parties, like SunGard, provide off-site back-up and
These single location environments are vulnerable to the
restoration in virtualized environments.
same devastating threats as non-virtualized environments.
Remote back-up is the only solution. What’s more, the
Faster recovery times re-staging of images increases the need for remote-back
SunGard takes snapshots (images) of your infrastructure and up. Recovery time and recovery point objectives go out the
replicates them in virtual servers off-site. So when there is window if images are undocumented and must be rebuilt
an outage, you don’t need to rebuild the server, application from scratch.
and operating system separately. SunGard reboots the
virtual server image with all of its patches and updates
included. This same process makes disaster recovery testing look to sunGard
simpler and less disruptive. SunGard is a pioneering provider of off-site disaster
recovery. With four million square feet of secure facilities,
Flexibility SunGard offers a complete range of information availability
Your servers can be restored to SunGard’s pool of hardware, solutions that include managed hosting, consulting and
which eliminates the need to restore Microsoft® Windows® business continuity services.
“Virtualization is a disruptive technology with great
transformational potential, but it is in danger of
becoming all disruption and little benefit to companies’
infrastructure and businesses without the people,
processes, and technologies working in harmony.”
don norbeck, sunGard availability services director, product development
vms: higher criticality than non-virtual servers
As virtual machines replace multiple physical servers, VMs become increasingly
critical in their support of operating systems, applications, processes and data
that drive your business. Despite the overall “green’ advantage of reducing the
number of servers, a single server hosting multiple VMs requires more power
and therefore more cooling. Something as simple as a pulled plug could cause a
look to sunGard
SunGard’s virtualization-based infrastructure and services help simplify
recovery, testing, quality assurance and production applications for enterprises
striving for information availability at all times. SunGard’s disaster recovery
and AdvancedRecoverySM capabilities provide businesses with options for
risk mitigation; for data monitoring, managing, and protecting; and for rapid
new dimensions of complexity
Virtualization places greater emphasis on a comprehensive understanding of
interdependencies—that is, how a change to a particular hardware element
may impact another infrastructure element and the applications and operating
system instances that element supports. With virtualization, the task of taking
and maintaining inventory of servers, their application workload roles or
identities (including systems and application software tied to each specific server
model) becomes more difficult and critical, while the interdependencies multiply
and become more complex. Most virtualization initiatives consider the basics—
overlapping input/output or scheduling around peaks—but do not consider
the importance of availability requirements in the overall design. Managing
complexity within the tense situation of an unplanned outage can not depend on
ad hoc actions.
look to sunGard
talk to us about your SunGard understands the criticality of virtual servers and the business
workloads that run on them, which is why we developed a SunGard Virtualization
virtualization needs and
Assessment consulting solution. This offering maps availability infrastructure
and the business impact of individual workloads and helps companies like yours
develop strategies to leverage advanced technologies such as virtualization and
call automation to run, restore and recover IT environments.
1-800-468-7483 not all costs go down
to schedule a
Total cost of ownership does go down with the reduced need for servers and
the more efficient use of existing servers. However, the increased complexity
of the environment (including software installation, configuration, performance
monitoring, testing, and trouble-shooting) may make labor savings minimal.