Will Your IBM i Disaster Recovery Plan Work When a Crisis Hits?
Establishing a high availability and disaster recovery (HA/DR) strategy for your IBM® i system is essential to minimize downtime of your mission-critical applications and data. The global pandemic has underscored that it is crucial to keep your disaster recovery strategy updated and relevant.
It has exposed major gaps in business continuity readiness, especially in areas such as remote access, data protection, and risk management. Is your business prepared to face similar situations in an uncertain, post-pandemic world? When an unplanned outage strikes, can you quickly restore critical business functions and keep operations running smoothly, even with a remote IT team?
You can’t afford to have nagging doubts about your disaster recovery plan. You need to be sure it works—and the only way is to put it to the test.
Effective Disaster Recovery for IBM i: What You Need to Know
To ensure you have a proven plan for protecting your IBM i system, you must first know how to perform different types of recovery, from a single data file to an entire IBM i environment. It’s also critical to have a deep understanding of your data and applications, so you can prioritize what gets protected and how.
Here are a few important questions to ask:
- Which applications and data are critical to your business?
- How are they being kept secure?
- What data sits in each application?
- Who uses each application and what data do they have access to?
- Do the applications run on a physical server or a virtual server?
- Are there key requirements for any of the applications?
Additionally, knowing the cost of downtime for your business and industry enables your organization to make more informed decisions when investing in backup and recovery. It’s also critical to consider how downtime affects your customers, impacts your operations, and damages your reputation.
With a clear understanding of your critical systems and business needs, you can then accurately evaluate your current HA/DR solution. Modern solutions like Rocket® iCluster® are developed for IBM i and provide near real-time replication of data to ensure immediate recovery.
Developing a robust test plan is equally important as choosing the right HA/DR solution when establishing a strategy that ensures high levels of availability.
4 Steps to Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Follow these steps to build an effective disaster recovery testing strategy for your IBM i.
- Prototype a HA/DR solution in a separate test environment
Before implementing backup and restoration procedures in a live production environment, start with a separate test environment that allows you to measure performance, compare configurations, and verify the functionality and data integrity of your recovery plan. For the most accurate results, aim to replicate both your production and standby environments.
- Determine your testing procedures
Identify and prioritize backups that are critical to your organization, taking into account all the data, systems, applications, and workloads that are dependent on IBM i. Then, design a custom testing approach.
Various tests are needed to validate your backups, including those that measure the duration of backing up or restoring data, applications, and virtual environments. The safest option is to perform an enterprise-wide recovery simulation to test all your backups and procedures.
- Simulate a disaster scenario
To confirm that your HA/DR solution will work when disaster hits, simulate different test scenarios to evaluate the integrity of your recovery plan. This also provides practical experience for your disaster recovery team.
When testing, focus on mitigating issues as well as measuring the time it takes to perform a recovery from start to finish. If a backup isn’t working properly, make corrections and test the process again.
- Establish a regular testing schedule
Regular testing will provide confidence in your disaster recovery preparedness. Semi-annual or quarterly testing is recommended to consistently review your backup and recovery plans. This ensures that existing staff will reflexively know what to do during an outage, and new hires will be aware of the proper procedures to handle disruptions.
Rocket Software offers disaster recovery testing services to help businesses ensure they are prepared for the worst-case scenario. To learn more about creating an effective disaster recovery plan for your IBM i, talk to a Rocket HA/DR expert today.