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The genre of science fiction had a head start on the game in the description of virtual realities. In films, books and on television, stories of virtual worlds that were accessible through technology were awe-inspiring creations.

Visionaries such as Walt Disney, or at least his business, created the 1982 film Tron The story follows an engineer who’s work was taken by the greedy company which he was freed from. He was taken in by the game he created and was forced to fight for his freedom.

Virtual disaster recovery is, however, not about escape from an actual computer simulation. Rather, it’s the use of virtualization software to facilitate the speedy, smooth recovery from any issues on the loss of data range from a single instance of corruption, to a complete system-wide failure of infrastructure.

It’s been proven that 50 percent of mid-sized or small companies that suffer from a catastrophic data loss will be unable to continue operations within two years. Therefore, a clearly defined catastrophe restoration (DR) strategy is an essential part of any business plan , regardless of size. the most important steps to create the most effective plan is to determine all the possible risks, outline your plan and then design the solution.

In the process of determining an emergency recovery strategy Every risk that could be a possibility must be considered, including the ones that are statistically unlikely.

Although it’s an uncomfortable process, and nobody wants to think about the possible negative results in the context of their business. The motivational experts such as Tony Robbins preach positive visualization and the “what-if” exercise provides a solid base and an feasible plan should circumstances arise. For instance, an organization might not be in an area susceptible to hurricanes, however flooding can happen anyplace, as we saw repeatedly throughout the year in the Philadelphia region. Recognizing the many ways that your business could be affected, and having plans for every eventuality is not just smart but essential.

After the risks have been identified, a few other issues must be addressed. In the first place do you have a written plan that outlines the steps for recovering from any incident that could be a part of the disaster spectrum? Second, what is the longest time that is necessary to complete a full recovery that does not adversely alter the stability of the business?

The older DR solutions that relied on tape backups usually took between 48 and seventy-eight hours for restoration, and they did not always provide a complete backup. However, in the current world of immediate access recovering in three days is far beyond what is acceptable and is pretty much insufferable. The organizations must make sure that the that recovery times are within the tolerances of each individual and that the tools employed together with the DR plan will help meet those thresholds.

Third, how long will it take to bring staff back on their feet? There could be opposition from employees with personal or family obligations apart from work. This can happen in the aftermath of a catastrophe.

Deciding on the technology and methodologies to adopt is crucial like every other aspect when creating a plans for disaster recovery. While we all try to make our businesses more flexible and mobile, DR plans have to keep up with the times.

The business space was shifted into “real-time” DR solutions such as offsite backups that are electronic and virtualized environments. The convenience of virtualization made it possible to reduce servers by as much as 80percent while optimizing the memory and CPU usage of the remaining hardware. Internet-based backups eventually surpassed the long-running tape arrays, which consume lots of space, adding the ability to recover in near-real-time when required. An excellent illustration of the differences in recovery between the latest technology and traditional tape backup options is presented below. Social Media and Electronic media  and Virtual news are  important factors which are shaping new societies. 

You’ve been working on a crucial document for all day long, and at 3:00, you’re presented with the death-like blue screen. In the days of tape in which backups were created every night, the majority of the work you did early in the morning would have been lost because you did not regularly save your work while you were working.

With the help of electronic backup tools which can be used offsite and on-site as well as copying to another cloud the document could be recovered in minutes from the blue screen with little loss. Imagine that for your important inventory, financial or sales information!

Similar to anything else in the market, enterprise-level technologies are making they can be found in the SMB market, causing a lot of excitement.

According to an article written by Dave Raffo, Senior News Director at SearchDisasterRecovery.com, “Improving disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) planning is the top spending priority for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and the No. 2 priority for enterprises, according to a recent survey of IT decision-makers conducted by Forrester Research.”

(Raffo Raffo, 2010,) Raffo goes on to declare “More than 70% of the 1,228 SMB budget decision makers in the Forrester’s ‘Global IT budgets, priorities, and emerging technology tracking survey Q2 2010’ said upgrading disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities is likely to be a top technology priority over the next 12 months.” (Raffo, 2010)

We now turn to the concept of virtual catastrophe recuperation, which an amalgamation of the efficiency in economies of size that virtualization brings as well as the stability, speedy transmission and storage of backup files. For smaller companies the most difficult to recover from is a single server failure.

Utilizing the Microsoft Small Business Server combining mail server, file/print server Domain controller (DC) and occasionally applications such as SQL, a hardware malfunction can be crippling.

Anyone who’s tried to repair a crashed DC is aware that it can be an exhausting and lengthy process. The best option is a virtual domain controller that is basically a virtual machine operating as an “cold” (not running) DC. It’s waiting in a remote-hosted facility, ready to start up when it’s needed.

This is a fantastic stand-alone DR alternative for an SMB since it allows for the restart of a main server in a matter of minutes instead of days or even hours.

The decrease in initial cost for storage and memory has created an opportunity for SMB companies to invest in enterprise-level technology installed. Virtualization means that every server transforms into a virtual computer (VM) running on the server platform, and every VM seems to network as physically a server that has the capability of a processor, RAM and storage. In the real world, it’s actually a software implementation, which is located in memory.

It is therefore simpler to create an “snapshot” of these VMs and replicate them to a different appliance on site or via an encrypted connection via an offsite DR device or cloud-based service. Because it’s being performed in real-time, the VMs are almost real-time. The solution is pretty open to different vendors and could be in line with what you feel is the best choice in selecting a technology.

Then, we have our environment virtualized, and VMs are going to an in-house device, as well as for an offsite DR facility. What happens to your data? The answer is straightforward.

There are many alternatives for near-real time backup of data from popular companies such as Barracuda Networks, SonicWALL, EMC, Cisco Systems, Dell and many more that offer disk-based solutions. The best practices to consider for this part of your project.

Choose the data to be first restored and then archived to ensure that there aren’t any interruptions. Virtual tape libraries may also be helpful here and enabling the data backups in a virtual environment is as simple by installing an application onto the virtual hard disk in the VM. Data can be stored offsite, or even to tape, if you decide to do so.

A successful virtual disaster recovery strategy will require some time and effort to prepare. In the end, burying your head in the sand is similar to being a player of Russian roulette in your future.

There’s no way to get you from the brink in the event that you don’t take the time to think about all possible scenarios your company might confront. The world of science fiction is now commonplace even though we are unable to think about the future, understanding and foresight can help ensure that you remain grounded real world and feasible for the future for as long as you can imagine.

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