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Network disaster recovery planning guide: Best practices

This network disaster recovery planning guide provides essentials for protecting a network in the event of a disaster and offers knowledge necessary to execute a successful plan.

Creating a solid network disaster recovery plan is essential to every IT shop. It is imperative to know the potentials for a disaster and how to tackle recovery in the LAN, the WAN and in specific application like VoIP. Network disaster recovery planning includes creating full network inventories, as well as mapping out potential disasters for each of these elements. With that knowledge, networking teams can devise network disaster recovery plans that are properly outlined, organized, tested and executed. This network disaster recovery planning guide is comprised of several areas of disaster recovery planning that are meant to help best prepare you for each of those instances.

Understanding your LAN disaster recovery plan options

This primer by Michael Brandenburg, technical editor, provides a thorough overview of LAN disaster recovery planning.

Disaster recovery planning serves to be crucial for enterprise LANs, despite size or scale of a disaster. To ensure a proper LAN disaster recovery plan, there are certain actions network administrators and technical staff should take. Obtaining an inventory of what is on the network, knowing spare parts to have available for potential hardware problems as well as localized events, knowing the criticality of each of the inventoried items to determine priority in the recovery stage, and capturing configuration data for every device are a few essential processes in rapid recovery. Little can change the impact of a total loss of a facility, but taking the proper steps to minimize the single points of failure in a LAN disaster recovery plan is vital. However, there is potential for problems with a recovery plan regarding the administrator. Therefore, it is important for others on the network team to have the ability to execute on the recovery plan. Virtualization also provides options in a LAN disaster recovery plan, including the idea that virtual machines and appliances can serve as temporary replacements in a disaster situation. Ultimately, preparing and conducting proper procedures can greatly minimize the risk and damages of a disaster.

Read the rest of Michael’s primer about LAN disaster recovery planning.

Disaster recovery plan checklist review:  Is yours ready?

In this article, IT specialist Ed Tittel explains the importance and elements of a disaster recovery plan checklist.

Time and accuracy are of the utmost importance when it comes to executing a disaster recovery (DR) or business continuity (BC) plan for a network. With that said, disaster recovery plan checklists make for an ideal tool when a disaster hits to ensure that all steps and actions are taken timely and correctly. Key considerations of these checklists can include networking assets and infrastructure, systems and WAN links. It is imperative to the productivity of the disaster recovery plan that these items post notifications within a stipulated time period after any kind of failure occurs. Therefore, the first step to a networking disaster recovery checklist is a thorough inventory of equipment, services and applications and a guide to variations of multiple types of failure for each of these. Conducting practice drills with these checklists is essential to ensure that they are indeed ready and functional for a potential disaster. The more preparation there is for a disaster, the greater the likelihood of overcoming a disaster there will be. Checklists serve to be a vital component to that success.

Read the rest of Ed’s disaster recovery checklist article.

Disaster recovery planning redundancy: Too much is never enough

This tutorial from reviews the importance of disaster recovery planning redundancy.

Along with preparation and execution of proper procedures to prevent a disaster, another key to outage prevention is disaster recovery system redundancy. Installing redundant equipment in separate physical locations greatly helps the elimination of as many single points of failure as possible. Kevin Tolly, founder of The Tolly Group, an IT testing and consulting services provider; Dave Bartoletti, a senior analyst with the  Taneja Group, a storage industry consulting firm; as well as other IT professionals provide their insight on best practices for planning and redundancy. They note that it is essential to have production-ready replacement equipment for LAN and Internet connections as well as to stock servers with redundant NICs in case of a card failure. The authors also touch upon pitfalls of preparing for a disaster, including configuration and disaster recovery tests, as well as how to assess each piece of equipment with a hot, warm and cold rating. The primary concept of this tutorial is to ensure a solid plan in the case of a disaster, and a vital portion of that plan is to have effective redundancy.

Recognizing key VoIP disaster recovery tips

Not only is data transmitted over the IP network, but voice is as well, which means network administrators are held accountable for any VoIP disasters and recoveries.  Although VoIP is a different type of data, it is still vulnerable to disasters. Network managers should know the potential disasters that VoIP can endure before investing in this type of technology. These VoIP disaster recovery tips, covering areas such as quality of service (QoS) and bandwidth provisioning, are meant to help you and your staff prepare for disasters in VoIP technology.

Read the rest of this VoIP disaster recovery article.

Essentials for maximal WAN optimization disaster recovery

Large enterprises rely on remote replication of data between their primary and secondary data centers for disaster recovery preparedness, so WAN links have to be both high bandwidth and highly reliable in order to ensure near real-time replication between sites. Two core requirements must be met regarding WAN optimization disaster recovery. There are five WAN optimization vendors that offer products that specifically support disaster recovery data center replication, and offer the scalability and performance needed to make near zero recovery point objectives. These vendors include F5 networks, Startup Infineta Systems, Netex, Riverbed and Silver Peak. Read on for more information about these vendors.

Read more of this story about WAN optimization disaster recovery.

Disaster recovery with virtualization offers flexibility

Using server virtualization as part of the disaster recovery strategy can offset the need for a traditional hot site and speed up the back-up and recovery process.

Steve Hannah and the IT team at School Specialty Inc., a Greenville, Wisconsin-based provider of supplemental learning products reworked their existing data center and hardware by building a new, secondary remote data center. With the secondary data center, the team used the virtualized environment to spin up production virtual machines for backup. When necessary, the team could actually run both the production and staging environments side-by-side, running their staging and disaster recovery environment with the same hardware. That resulted a continuous testing of disaster recovery hardware, as well as more control and flexibility of workloads and environments.

Read this story about disaster recovery with virtualization.

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This was last published in April 2011

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