Error-proof your disaster recovery plan

RecoverGuard allows you to sync with confidence, promising iron-clad, automated control of configuration changes

In IT, change is the only constant, as hardware and software is updated almost continuously. Companies that take business continuity seriously protect themselves by creating a recovery site to run vital business processes during an emergency.

Needless to say, keeping the recovery site current is essential to business continuity, but given the constant flux of hardware and software updates, the outcome of that effort is often uncertain.

And this uncertainty is compounded by the fact that changes to the IT infrastructure are often automated, whereas replicating those updates to the DR (disaster recovery) site remains a manual, error-prone activity.

An overlooked change could cripple your business in the event of a disaster. Think, for example, how damaging it would be if an important database was moved to a different volume to improve performance but that change was never replicated at the recovery site.

Is there a better way other than zealous attention to details to keep a DR plan effective? According to startup Continuity Software, its recently announced RecoverGuard 2.0 is the answer.

Think of RecoverGuard as a watchdog that can automatically compare the details of two IT infrastructures, then finds and reports their differences. Not only does RecoverGuard continuously monitor the two sites, but it also automatically creates a problem ticket when discrepancies arise.

It's interesting to note that RecoverGuard has a bottom-up, data-comes-first discovery process that initially identifies the storage objects of a site, then seeks out the hosts that owns them.

During discovery, RecoverGuard builds an accurate topology map of the datacenter that admins can use to better understand and solve problem tickets.

According to Continuity Software, RecoverGuard 2.0 brings some interesting improvements over previous versions, including a more efficient and faster discovery process, and a Dashboard that empowers nontechies to manage this critical business activity.

How intrusive is RecoverGuard? Not very, according to the vendor. In fact, it sits on a dedicated Windows machine and doesn't require you to install agents on your servers. Understandably, you'll have to provide the software with ample authentication credentials, just as you give your security guards keys to open every door in the building.

I liked just about everything I heard and saw during my briefing and demonstration with Continuity Software, including its assessment challenge -- a sort of gauntlet thrown at your current DR procedure.

It goes like this: Continuity Software volunteers to perform a risk assessment that won't cost you anything if no damaging difference is found between your primary and recovery sites.

What happens if a significant inconsistency is found? Well, then, you pay US$15,000 for the assessment, plus a yearly license fee of US$2,000 per server. Are you confident enough to take that challenge?