There are many benefits to an IT organization or business when choosing to implement a server virtualization strategy. With the technology we have today, there's no reason to remain idle and simply watch the parade on the sidelines. If you are still waiting to get into the game, here are great reasons why you should be jumping into the server virtualization game with both feet. These are tried and true benefits that have withstood the test of time.
- Reduce the data center footprint
- Save energy, go green
- Faster server provisioning
- Reduce Cost
- Increase uptime
Server virtualization has been a game-changing technology for IT, providing efficiencies and capabilities that just aren't possible when constrained within a physical world. And while server virtualization has continued to mature and advance itself, some virtualized organizations are still not taking full advantage of the offering -- stalling their virtual environment at something far less than the 100 percent virtualized data center of the hard-core virtual administrator.
A real advantage of undertaking DR in a virtual environment is that recovery procedures become less knowledge- and more process-based.
This is because the whole shebang – data, applications and operating system – is encapsulated into a virtual machine (VM) that is hardware-independent and data resides on shared storage. As a result, you can copy VMs and data by traditional backup for bare metal restore in a disaster scenario.
Or, better still, you canricate everything at regular, pre-defined intervals over a wide-area network to a second server and storage environment at a remote data centre and invoke failover. Upon failover, the replication process is halted to prevent data corruption and storage at the secondary site is designated as live. The hypervisor then scans the array for LUNs, sucks the VMs into inventory and turns them on in a pre-defined order so that they can be run up on local servers. Because the process is automated, it reduces the amount of day-to-day administration required to keep systems at remote sites configured correctly.
The process for recovering each of your VMs is the same so you generally have a much higher chance of success and you don't need a lot of technical skills to effect failover.
As long as one staff member understands the process and clearly documents it, you can gather the troops to work on other stuff such as internet connectivity to ensure you can recover within your SLAs. DR in a virtualised world is much easier if it all happens by disk-to-disk replication,"
Testing disaster recovery in a virtualised environment
Disaster recovery testing also becomes easier in a virtualised world. Cloned VMs can be used to test failover and bring the production environment up at a secondary site. This type of testing tends to be carried out infrequently with physical servers because of the time required and the disruption to the business.
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) tool makes it even easier to test. SRM integrates with the storage management layer and automates cross-site failover. It also generates reports for auditing purposes. You need to test that failover works, and it's an ongoing thing so we revisit it every month to see that everything's working as it should be and SRM helps because it allows you to do a 'fire-drill' failover. Failover takes less than 60 minutes, which is within the organisation's recovery time objective of 12 hours.