Developing a Recovery Plan
At the heart of most recovery plans for server operations is physical separation. At a minimum, data, and often servers, are maintained offsite (i.e., physically separated from the enterprise’s facilities so that any local disaster will not affect them).
The place of storage is usually called the recovery site (or sites), and there are several types.
- Hot Site: Servers, applications, and data are maintained in real-time synchronization (mirrored) with the main IT operations. Disaster recovery is (hopefully) seamless and immediate. Since this usually means duplicating hardware and software, the approach is typically very expensive.
- Cold Site: Data, applications, and often servers are maintained on a standby basis with regular updates or synchronization. These systems must be brought up to speed and put online for disaster recovery, so response times are usually measured in hours or even days. This approach can be relatively expensive, although (depending on the equipment required) it is less expensive than a hot site.
- Web Site (Vault) or Other Offsite Data Storage: This does not involve duplicate hardware and is therefore much less expensive; however, recovery depends on re-creating damaged hardware environments, and this may take considerable time.
- Reciprocal Site: Occasionally an agreement or contract can be worked out with a “friendly” enterprise to share servers and backup. This approach can be very inexpensive but brings with it numerous security and reliability drawbacks.
Selecting an appropriate type of site and developing the logistics, policies, and procedures for it is the most critical aspect of disaster recovery. At this point, employees, management, and partners are usually closely involved in discussing how the plan will be implemented.