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Is Hybrid Disaster Recovery Ready to Replace Data Center Duplication?

Data protection and uptime are the topic of discussion at every organization. Simply put, an organization cannot run without its systems for any specified period of time.  A common solution to this concern is to duplicate all systems and data from one live data center to another backup.  An organization preferably wants identical systems both in hardware and software levels. Having both racks up with completed networks and concurrent patches is an important part of this solution. Ideally, the entire backup data center has been tested and it will be ready to take over functions at the declaration of a disaster.

While this is ideal, data center duplication is not for all companies. The first concern is often budget; a secondary data center is expensive and not a customer facing system. This makes it hard to get support from the organization for the costs associated with a duplicate data center over projects that add costumer facing business value.  The second challenge is patching and configuration changes.  The headache of duplicating changes on both the primary and secondary systems often goes overlooked or cannot be successfully tested.  Not to mention any third part integration that may be important to business systems.

What does this mean for the backup data center? Well, it is ideal to have duplication but unless all aspects are covered it is a flawed plan.  Often IT will not have the resources to maintain their backup data center correctly.  Organizations put old and retired hardware in their backup data center and cross their fingers that a disaster will not occur.  When a disaster does occur these systems will fail and often cause larger issues when the time comes to revert back to the primary data center.

This is where hybrid disaster recovery scenarios come into play. With Windows Azure recovery services and Microsoft Hyper-V, storing your fail over data and virtual machine’s in the cloud is a new recovery opportunity. Images of local systems are stored in Azure and spun up when a disaster is declared.  This is a hosted version of multiple site duplication network architecture. By using Windows Azure Backup Service, backing up virtual machine’s to the cloud is a simple routine.  Along with using Microsoft Hyper-V Recovery Manager to automate and test a fail over, Azure is becoming an alternative platform to host and recover services.

Disaster Recovery is an insurance or anticipation of a failure that many businesses truly overlook. The Hybrid DR solution when done right can be a quick and cost efficient way to provide a business uptime, protection, and data redundancy.

What do you think, is hybrid disaster recovery ready to replace data center duplication?