Cloud-based disaster recovery offers a variety of benefits to organizations as it can eliminate the need for dedicated infrastructure (servers, storage, and data center space) required for failover, especially if you’re running virtual machines. Alongside the benefits of cloud-based DR, it should be no surprise that there are still important details that can affect your outcomes when executing a DR plan (i.e., failover/recovery of VMs) or testing readiness. That is why I want to talk about a new Druva feature called “Failover Prerequisites check” or what I cheekily refer to as the “preflight check.”
If you’ve ever been on a multi-day camping trip, or even just promised your kid that you’ll camp in the backyard, you may be familiar with the following scenario; what you thought would work – say your tent, a propane powered stove, or a water filter – because they all worked the last time you used them, did not work this time. In short, a funny thing happens over time; things we suspected would not change, indeed do. Whether it’s because of wear and tear, required fixes that were never performed, or other people making updates or changes and forgetting to tell us, a variety of factors can catch us by surprise. In my most recent example, I promised my daughter that we’d be camping in the backyard only to discover at 7pm that some of the tension rods for the tent were not working, preventing setup. Had I checked the condition of the tent before making that promise, I would have known better, but I was in a hurry. Actually, I had a backup plan, the beach tent, that is well-suited for our temperate climate. Like all parents, I’ve learned to make some promises to my kids more conditional, but in other scenarios like DR for your business, you want to know that an application failover is going to work as expected.
The Druva failover prerequisites check feature prevents these types of situations by removing a number of challenges associated with VM-based DR, validating everything from credentials to disk and filesystem state readiness for failover. Of course, to be fully prepared, you would need to test all the way through the failover, which is something Druva supports with unlimited testing. To continue the camping analogy; prerequisites check makes sure all your equipment is there and accessible, but a full test would include actually setting up all the gear you expect to use (rain tarps, stakes, etc). There’s a place for both in the world of readiness and resilience. Let’s dive into one of the newer Druva DR features.
One of the best things about the Druva pre-flight check process is that it’s automated. This automation is part of building a DR plan. When the VMs in a plan are backed up, the prerequisites check process executes and provides a status report.
The diagram below shows how it works.
The status of a prerequisites checks include warnings, errors, and notices such as “no credentials” or “invalid credentials” as shown in the picture below.
Our excellent documentation page includes a short video (1:30) that shows more details within the product and explains in greater detail what can cause errors during the VM conversion that occurs as part of the failover process. Without this automation, customers would have an impractical requirements list to monitor when designating VMs for failover. In short, failovers would either not work or be delayed without built-in diagnostics.
This automation removes a burden normally placed on the backup or VM administrator, by checking the many small things that can go wrong when failing over VMs. In short, this feature enables anybody in IT to configure VMs as part of a DR plan, putting organizations much closer to true DR readiness.
This feature, along with other enhancements, was delivered to customers in the February 17, 2020 cloud push, one of two monthly update cycles in which Druva delivers new features and updates to its cloud platform. Other DR enhancements included faster failback capabilities that require less administrative support. Automatic updates to your backup platform is one of the advantages of switching to the cloud-based data protection – the latest features are available for your use right away.
The failover prerequisites check feature is just one of the many pieces that combine to make our approach to backup and DR so appealing to so many customers. It’s part of why customers choose Druva for the Gartner Peer Insights Award for Backup and Recovery in February 2020.