Chapter 16. Preparing for Disaster

It is the day that no system administrator wants: For one reason or another, one of your systems has crashed and is in an unrecoverable state. Although this isn't the worst thing that can happen, it certainly constitutes a small disaster.

If you're working with physical servers, you might or might not have to spec out, order, and build new hardware. However, you will likely have to reinstall your operating system and patch it to the current level. And you'll probably have to reinstall your applications if you're not imaging your server. After all the preceding steps are completed, it's time to restore your system's data from backup.

If you're working with virtual machines, though, your machines are less likely to have problems in the first place — and, if a problem does arise, it's far easier to recover from. The worst case is that you deploy a new virtual machine from a template, patch the newly deployed machine, reinstall your applications, and restore data from your backup system. You can probably get to the point of data restore in less than one-half hour. The best-case scenario is just restoring an image of the virtual machine: that is, of course, if you can't just flip a switch on a separate disaster recovery system and bring the virtual machine back to life.

In this chapter, we discuss different ways to assess, prepare for, and recover from disasters. We also look at Virtual Consolidated Backups, a new ways to protect your data that uses snapshots ...

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