Revolutionize disaster recovery with DevOps tools

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Every IT admin understands the importance of having a disaster recovery plan in place to restore the business to operational status as quickly as possible. A new breed of tools has emerged, though, that can completely change the way you recover from a server or datacenter disaster, and have your business up and running in a fraction of the time.

Every company needs to have the recovery basics in place. A well-written disaster recovery plan provides clear direction that minimizes the chaos and helps the organization resume normal operations as quickly as possible. Mission-critical assets—servers and applications that the business simply cannot function without—must be identified, and data need to be backed up frequently to an offsite location that will not be impacted by the event.

Traditionally, a disaster recovery plan includes having additional hardware available, or instructions for how and where to quickly acquire hardware to replace any servers or storage arrays that might be damaged. Replacing the affected data storage units, and restoring data from the most recent backup is the tried and true one-two punch for effective disaster recovery.

Making use of the cloud and the recent DevOps movement shifts things in favor of IT, enabling organizations to recover from disasters in a fraction of the time. As the name implies, DevOps merges development and operations. In other words, DevOps is about using tools to automate as much as possible to enable organizations to get more done in less time with fewer resources. 

A physical server needs to be replaced, and then rebuilt—either from the ground up by installing the operating system and applications, or by restoring an image of the pre-configured server—a virtual server instance is just ones and zeros. It can be saved and stored offline, and when a disaster strikes you can simply launch a new instance of the virtual server using your backed up copy. That alone can save a significant amount of recovery time.

With open source DevOps tools like Chef or Puppet Labs, organizations can take the convenience of being able to launch a new instance of a virtual server and automate it even further. Chef and Puppet Labs enable IT admins to provision servers and applications in an automated fashion either on premises or in the cloud. With data that is also backed up to or stored in the cloud, the organization can be back in action quickly.

You can also take that a step further with a tool like Ravello. Where Chef and Puppet Labs automate the provisioning and configuration of virtual servers, Ravello enables organizations to recreate the a virtual instance of the entire network infrastructure—down to the routers, switches, and IP addressing scheme—in the cloud. 

Combining two distinct departments can be a difficult task. For all the potential benefits of moving forward with DevOps, a poorly managed integration can cause problems down the line. Companies like Rackspace offer help with this process, lending support and guidance as your new DevOps gets settled and your cloud infrastructure takes shape.

This isn’t your father’s disaster recovery. What once took hours, or even days, has been reduced to minutes. Using DevOps tools and concepts, your organization can enjoy maximum uptime and be ready for business in a flash, even if your datacenter is completely leveled.

This story, "Revolutionize disaster recovery with DevOps tools" was originally published by BrandPost.

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