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Disaster Recovery Without Boundaries Part 3

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by James Keating III, Business Technology Architect, Evolving Solutions

Over the past two blog posts I have put forth two scenarios for using cloud infrastructure inside backup and disaster recovery processes and operations.  In both of those blog posts I put forth a list of software and hardware that could be used to achieve the goals of each scenario.  It is that list of software that seems to have resonated with readers the most.  I have received numerous emails explaining to me what other options could have been used and/or why certain parts of the bill of materials I presented should be changed.  First, let me say I am glad to see so much discussion was generated by the posts as that was the intent, to get people thinking about options in the changing world of IT.  Second, I will take the remainder of this post to explain why many of the comments and emails I got about pros and cons of the various portions of the architectures proposed are illustrative of the overall point of the Disaster Recovery Without Boundaries series of posts I have made.

The  two most common comments I received by far related specifically to two software tools I had listed by name in the posts, VEEAM and Zerto.   It would appear both of these software choices have very loyal and knowledgeable fans. I have received at least 20 comments and emails from various people stating essentially one of the two things listed below:

  • Why would one choose Zerto, when with some scripting VEEAM can accomplish the same thing?  Further Zerto support is not offered via VMware directly.
  • Why would one choose to use VEEAM when Zerto can be used to migrate data anywhere?  Zerto has numerous awards and has automations and recovery features that are not available in a single package by any other vendor at this time.

Those two comments are examples of why IT and specifically IT architecture choices are more of a journey into the unknown rather than a specific roadmap like most IT folks like to believe.  Basically the idea is IT is changing and businesses make choices based upon the information known at a given time.  Outside factors, inside factors and other items can influence what is a good or correct choice of design.  Taking the example of VEEAM and Zerto one can illustrate the point, if one uses a method of gathering specifics in terms of goals, strengths, risks and abilities as a factor in IT design, architectures may change for different situations using a similar use case.  So for example, let us take a company who has deep scripting skills, understands VMware and is often upgrading versions of VMware and wants to be able to backup and replicate VMware using a single 3rd party tool.  Contrast that company to one that tends to run infrastructure for 3 years without many upgrades in terms of software and has little to no scripting skills and has no budget or interest in growing that skillset but still wants replication and failover of VMware data.  Each of these companies would be correct in choosing different options to achieve roughly the same goals.  The first company would be fine choosing VEEAM, while the second company might not be able to fully achieve the goals due to lack of scripting expertise.  The second company would be well suited to choose Zerto as they would not be worried about compatibility limits with cutting edge releases of VMware and would have better success with a package that required no scripting.  Both options are valid and which one is best is individual to the circumstances of the company that made the choice.

To that end, it is important that with the change rate within IT, and the idea that technical design is not something that is a one size fits all proposition, getting insight into the facts around the individual situations are key to knowing what will work, what will work well and what is just not a good fit.  To get this type of data I recommend going through either a Cloud Potential Study, or Business Impact Analysis to know the how, what and why of the available options to make the best decisions for changing IT needs within the specifics of your situation.  Both are engagements that help identify the risks, strengths, goals and unique business factors that enable IT to make informed decisions.

The overall thrust of many vendors (specifically in the cloud space) that push the idea that one size fits all or that some IT infrastructure magic happens when one moves to an “As a Service” model are simply not real world in my experience.  Due diligence, facts and informed choices are required no matter if you are putting in a physical storage array or looking at an application delivered only via cloud methods.  Contrary to what many may think or say, the IT folks and in many ways the infrastructure focused members of IT are needed more than ever in a world that allows for so many choices and such a fast rate of IT innovation.   A change is how infrastructure is delivered doesn’t diminish the need for skilled people to understand all of the technical details and requirements.

If you would like to know more about how, and what a Cloud Potential Study or Business Impact Analysis is or works and how it may benefit IT at your company contact Evolving Solutions.

Did you miss a post in the Disaster Recovery Without Boundaries series? Check them all out by visiting the links below:

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James Keating III is a Business Technology Architect for Evolving Solutions. James is a technology leader in the IT community and brings a combination of excellent technical skills and business acumen which allows him to guide customers in developing IT solutions to meet business requirements.