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Buckets for Disaster Recovery

October 26, 2011

Disaster recovery can be a huge project at any company. Considering the ways in which you build a plan that covers all the infrastructure, and it can quickly become a full time job for someone. The details, and the scope of the project can be overwhelming when you try to address your environment.

There’s a way to make this easier: buckets. If you can group your systems into a few gross buckets that define those systems that have similar needs, you can make life simpler.

In the past, I have typically built four buckets of systems for DR purposes, though I think you could go with three. These are the buckets I’ve had:

  • Critical Systems – high priority systems that typically must be running the majority of the business day. Note that you may have a 24 hour business day in which case downtime must be minimized to minutes.
  • Low priority – systems that we can function without for a day or two if we need to. Often development systems fall into this area.
  • Everything else – Medium levels of priority.
  • Not recovered – This is an optional level, but it’s almost always been a set of test systems, maybe some development systems that aren’t important enough to worry about.

The fourth bucket, the “Not Recovered” bucket doesn’t mean you abandon those systems. In the event of an issue, you would make an attempt to recover them, but you might not spend time or resources practicing or preparing for the recovery effort.

Bucketing your systems is the best way to easily manage your preparations for disaster, and also set some gross priorities. You might end up recovering systems within the bucket in different orders, depending on what happened, but this gives you an easy way to allocate resources, both in a disaster, and in preparation.

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One Comment
  1. Nice post. Buckets apply in other ways too:
    Brent pointed out recently the advantages of having R, R/W, and slow connection strings (http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2011/10/my-favorite-connection-string-tips/), and I think that also helps when thinking about DR. If you can maintain Read only capability 100% of the time your customers may be willing to give you slightly longer recovery windows to get the R/W capability back up for example.

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