It is quite often that you will hear IT people say that they want the ultimate automatic disaster recovery solution that you can buy. You can also find some vendors who can sell you their solution as automatic disaster recovery solution only because you asked for one. But do you really want an automatic disaster recovery solution?
We are often victims of our bad understanding of the words but in technology you need to be very careful what you ask for. If you ask for automatic disaster recovery solution you may get something that you do not expect. Here is the scenario.
An automatic disaster recovery solution will be a feature rich solution that is able to recognize all kinds of "disaster" symptoms like bad weather, increased humidity around the data center, low power voltage or increased traffic, and it will trigger automatically the disaster recovery plan. There are a few problems with that though. Executing the DR plan is not as simple as flipping the light switch and turning the light. The implications are much bigger:
- You need to redirect all your users to another data center that may be few hundred or even thousand miles away
- If you use cold DR strategy your second center may require some time to become live
- The data may not be current in your second data center
All this will have significant impact on your users' experience, which in the case of a real disaster may be warranted but if the "disaster" is just fluctuation in the voltage or stronger wind it will have more of a negative impact.
Some of you may argue that you can develop a very smart decision engine that will be able to determine whether this is real disaster symptom or a fake one but I think those people live in the future.
Therefore you should not look for automatic disaster recovery solution, and striving to achieve one should not be in your goals. What you need is automated solution that automates your DR run book but you still leave the control in the hands of humans who are able to determine properly whether the symptoms are or will lead to disaster.
This post was first published on our company's blog as No! You Don't Want Automatic DR!