Is your data ready for the next natural disaster or other hazards to IT?

We all know the hazards which can bring down IT-infrastructures. Hardware or software faults, human error, fire, hurricanes,  broken WAN connections, Murphy’s Law, etc.  Many believe the chance of a datacenter failure is pretty low. And many believe the costs to protect do not outweigh the risks.

With the release of Zerto Virtual Replication for VMware vSphere infrastructures costs are must lower than traditional approaches of disaster recovery which are often based at expensive storage based replication  not aware of virtual machines. Zerto changed the market for DR.

Zerto Virtual Replication offers  hypervisor-based replication for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for smb, enterprise and service providers. It achieves RPO in seconds, and RTO in minutes. I wrote a blogposting on an earlier version of the product back in February 2012.

In this article you will learn how Affigent LLC, a Herndon, Va.-based technology consulting firm for government customers protects it IT-infrastructure for disasters using Zerto Virtual Replication.

Affigent needed a DR solution to protect some of its business critical applications like CRM and ERP. Those applications were hosted in a Integrity Virtual IT (an IT outsourcing company in Silver Spring, Md)  datacenter in Virginia. For Affigent IT is business critical. For example when a US government agency requests a bid or proposal, a deadline is given. When the IT system is not available when the deadline approaches, proposals (often last minute work) cannot be made or sent resulting in losing a potential large order.

Matthew Friedman, business operations director at Affigent requested Integrity Virtual IT to search for a DR tool which is able to  protect the IT-process. Because of a recent incident in which a truck accident in a tunnel cut all fiber connections to some area  datacentersFriedman realized he needed a secondary datacenter and a solid DR tool.

Three aspects for a DR solution were important to Affigent:
1. It should be a cost effective DR solution. Affigent wanted to pay a reasonable price but not the highest price.
2. The software must allow for a quick move of applications to the DR site.
3. It must be a robust solution which performed as promised.

With these requirements Ron Offer, CEO at Integrity and his team looked at a couple of DR solutions. Storage based replication was above the budget and delivered features like a RPO of  zero  while this was not a requirement.

Zerto Virtual Replication came out as the best solution regarding performance, cost and features. The solution was noticed because it won Best of Show at VMworld 2011, as well as 2011 Product of the Year Gold Award.

And so Integrity Virtual IT became  the first worldwide commercial hosting provider which started to use Zerto Virtual Replication.

The implementation of the software went very efficiently. Replication was performed to a secondary datacenter operated by Integrity located in Chicago.
Not all of Affigent applications are replicated using Zerto. An Active Directory controller is always switched on in the DR site in Chicago and replicating with the primary site. This prevents issues with DNS and enables a much quicker failover.  In the first few weeks after implementation several failover tests were performed. These are needed to fine-tune the workflow of the failover and to test applications after failover.

At the Friday before Hurricane Sandy would hit the East Coast a discussion started at Affigent whether to failover or not. The decision was postponed to Monday. On Monday morning it was decided to failover. The actual failover was performed during Monday lunchtime. Servers were shutdown cleanly, latest changes were replicated and then servers were restarted in the DR site. This took around 35 minutes. Then an additional 25 minutes were needed by IT to verify all applications were running.

Applications were available to users using an alternate URL or shortcut on desktops. After one hour everything was running smoothly in the DR site. The switch back to the DR site was done on Wednesday evening with no issues.

Affigent is very happy with Zerto and the services offered by Integrity Virtual IT. They deliver value added services. Staff of Integrity have knowledge of applications and together with vendors are able to help bring up services.
In the near future more Affigent applications will be protected by Zerto Virtual Replication.

Is Your Data Ready for the Next Natural Disaster?

Please join Zerto and Ron Offer from Integrity Virtual IT for a brief webinar Thursday, November 29 at 2PM EST on Lessons Learned from Superstorm Sandy.

How can you strengthen your BC/DR strategy for when the next natural disaster strikes?

  • Simplify Simplify Simplify. This was key to ensuring applications and data were available
  • If you can’t test it, it’s not going to work during a disaster
  • Count to 10 and do it again. Getting back to normal once storm/disaster cleared

To register for the webinar, click here.

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