DR Strategy Guide for IBM i: Recovery Strategy Requirements

High Availability / Disaster Recovery
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Disaster Recovery (DR) strategies are many and varied.

Editor's note: This article introduces the white paper "DR Strategy Guide from Maxava" available free from the MC White Paper Center.


The components of your business impact analysis and mission-critical server rankings will be used as the basis for the development and implementation of a supporting recovery strategy.


Ensure the following information is absolutely clear:


• The critical business processes have all been identified.

• The availability and recovery requirements for these critical processes have been identified.

• The backup and recovery strategies reflect the assumed disaster recovery scenarios.

• The availability and recovery strategies are scalable, flexible, and compliant.

• The assumptions behind each availability and recovery strategy are clearly stated.

• The recovery timeframe objectives (RTOs) for the critical processes have been identified.

• The recovery point objectives (RPOs) for the critical processes have been identified.


The DR planning team needs to examine the technology strategies available to ensure their organization is successful if a recovery is required in a disaster. The appropriate technology solution supporting the recovery and availability strategies must meet the business objectives as agreed to during the initial analysis. This will include supporting procedures and effective DR planning, data backup requirements, off-site tape media storage, recovery restoration procedures, system redundancy, resiliency, network analysis and communications, infrastructure redundancy, replication software implementation, and infrastructure review. The IT recovery team will ensure that all availability requirements are completed in a timely manner to achieve the RTO for all the critical business functions as stated in the mission statement of the Disaster Recovery Plan.


Disaster Recovery Strategies

The challenge in selecting DR solutions from an infrastructure standpoint is that there is a tendency to view the DR solutions as individual product technologies and piece together the total solution. Instead, DR solutions need to be viewed as a complete, integrated potentially multi-product solution.


For many organizations, the all-encompassing DR strategy is to simply back up everything to tape daily, send the tapes off site, and count on the historical uptime of the IBM i platform to guarantee that it will never go down. However, when a severe hardware failure does occur in the server or a primary facility is damaged or totally lost, the 48 hours it takes to bring up the system and 24 hours minimal amount of data loss should be challenged by both IT and the business.


Companies today understand the true cost of downtime and data loss. The most important consideration remains that the survival of the organization is dependent on IT to deliver an appropriate timely response. The technology solution in place should support the recovery response needs.


To identify recovery strategies, you should consider the immediate, short- and long-term outages caused by the occurrence of a disaster. The question only remains if the outage is an incident or a disaster. Strategies also differ on the basis of long-term and short-term recovery goals. You can adopt various strategies, ranging from basic off-site tape storage, tape backup and recovery to HA with multiple sites.


General Guidelines for Selecting Recovery Strategies

Disaster Recovery Strategies are many and varied. Some organizations rely on daily tape backups, others have moved to off-site remote backups or vaulting, while yet others have embraced real-time data replication and mirroring. Cost is obviously an important factor in choosing a strategy. Generally the higher the protection required, the more a strategy will cost.


If your organization cannot afford to invest in a high-level data recovery strategy, then you must accept some data loss and downtime as inevitable after a disaster. The Disaster Recovery Strategy must be accepted by both IT and the Business, and the risks must be well understood, signed off, and accepted. Often in the past the CEO of a company left the decisions on recovery strategy to the IT department, but increasingly these decisions are now made at board level.


Want to Know More?

Download the free white paper "DR Strategy Guide from Maxava" from the MC White Paper Center.