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Virtual disaster recovery best practices guide for VARs

Separate yourself from competitors by knowing how to produce a disaster recovery (DR) plan for your customers, including how to cut costs for them, and the best approaches for a virtual DR environment.

For VARs looking to put themselves out there to potential customers as flexible, multi-tasking solution providers, knowing the ins and outs of disaster recovery (DR) can give them a big advantage over the competition.

A number of considerations must be factored into a VAR’s DR plan. This tutorial offers planning elements such as the types of disaster to prepare for in a customer’s environment or how to gauge your program’s maturity level. Knowing how to implement DR in different environments can help set you apart from the competition. Working with virtualized DR requires different tools and skills than a physical environment. Here you will find resources that explain how to approach virtual data recovery and cloud disaster recovery for customers who have questions about security or space for their data.

Generating a DR plan

Shaping a solution provider's ESX DR plan: Disaster types
Because a variety of disasters can occur in your customer’s ESX environment, from an application failure to chassis or rack disaster, solution providers should at least have basic knowledge of each type. This chapter excerpt breaks down how to create an ESX DR plan, including what these disasters would mean to your customer’s environment and disaster recovery methods for VARs.

Business disaster recovery planning: How much is enough DR planning?
Having a DR plan in place is something that will endear VARs to current and potential customers, but when do you draw the line between business-critical applications and unneeded apps that require too much maintenance? Read here what’s important (their network) and what’s baggage (phone lists) when DR planning and some useful examples of automating recovery processes.

Ten things that must be included in IT disaster recovery plans
A solution provider should have a few items set in stone when forming a DR plan for customers. Make sure you’ve taken care of the basics, including an accurate contact list, but that you’ve included entries such as a current network diagram of the entire network and recovery site. Check out the other nine must-have DR plan elements in this expert tip.

Evaluating your disaster recovery program's maturity level
Using the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Process Maturity Framework as a maturity model may help give VARs insight into their DR plans’ strengths and weaknesses, which can help them assure reliability to their customers. VARs can also perform a self evaluation in which they can rate areas of a DR plan such as executive support or documentation quality and hone in on the ones that need the most improvement.

Achieving cost-effective disaster recovery testing and planning: Nine areas where you can cut costs
Pitching an affordable DR plan to your customer (always a great selling point) is an attainable goal if you know which areas to target when cutting costs. You can make testing your DR plan easier by focusing on automation (reducing hours spent on tasks) and compartmentalization. Find out what this expert recommends for other areas to cut costs for your customers, and give you a leg-up on the competition.

Virtual DR tips and tricks

Site Recovery Manager: Getting schooled in disaster recovery
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) can help solution providers create DR plans and perform tests, but it also offers assistance with other DR-related tasks. Check out an expert’s SRM disaster recovery best practices in this tutorial, as well as what the future holds for SRM.

Top three virtualization challenges: DR, backup and security
Virtualization can certainly be an asset to VARs working on a DR plan, but it also requires careful consideration and intense testing. VARs working with Virtual DR need to be cognizant of details such as how data moves or any changes within their customer’s LAN and across the WAN to remote locations.

Virtual disaster recovery FAQ
VARs who aren’t familiar with virtual disaster recovery can learn the ins and outs in this FAQ. Read how virtualization fits in with and aids DR and why it’s different from physical DR. Also explained are the potential issues that may arise with virtual DR, such as virtual infrastructures complexities, and best practices for creating a DR plan.

Server virtualization, disaster recovery go hand-in-hand
Working with DR on virtual servers, which encapsulate all the user data and all system data into a single image file, offers a natural advantage for solution providers because it simplifies the process. Virtual DR is also much easier for VARs to perform remote tests on their customer’s VMs. This doesn’t mean that physical servers are useless, though, because VARs can read here how to use physical-to-virtual software to their advantage.

Disaster recovery strategies for virtual environments
Implementing a DR strategy in your customer’s environment will make your life easier and it will also present a unique set of challenges. VARs will need to find the physical storage components in a virtual environment or tackle other bumps in the road such as identifying critical systems and applications that can use virtual DR machines.

Virtualization disaster recovery planning tutorial
This tutorial details all the information a solution provider needs when helping a customer with DR in their virtual environment. Read information on the three current virtual backup methods, including image-based backup, and how a Hyper-V environment stacks up against VMware. Also take a look the challenges that are part of virtual environment replication.

Fitting your DR plan into a customer’s cloud environment

Cloud computing disaster recovery: Best practices for DR in the cloud
Depending on whether you’re working with DR in the cloud using infrastructure as a service (IaaS) alone or platform as a service (PaaS) and IaaS, your priorities are going to be different. With IaaS/PaaS, you’re going to have to focus on application priority and architecture so you can assure your customers that the apps can be recovered with the current cloud backup in place. Read through the full tip and learn the importance of database testing for potential failures.

For SMBs, cloud disaster recovery may be best choice for disaster recovery storage
Because your SMB customers don’t need as much bandwidth as enterprise customers, cloud disaster recovery is an intriguing option for them. Read what you should know about cloud service providers such as SunGard or IBM and the argument for (security) and against (capacity) just keeping DR on premise.

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