Disaster Recovery is More Than Just Technology Part 1

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While I was at the PASS Summit 2010, I’ve spent a fair amount of time at the Ask-the-Experts table on high availability, disaster recovery and virtualization. Conference attendees with different requirements on high availability and disaster recovery come to these tables and ask questions.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time doing high availability and disaster recovery (HADR) in my previous life as a data center engineer focusing on the Microsoft platform. My previous organization sold high availability and disaster recovery solutions to customers like crazy, highlighting the fact that the solutions are more than just the technology aspect. Every time I talk about HADR in my presentations, I focus on the three main ingredients to have a successful implementation – people, process and technology (PPT). Note that technology is at the end of the list as the people and the process components should come first.

What I found out at the PASS Summit gave me insights as to how people approach HADR (and I thought I only saw these on the newsgroups and forums as I answer their questions.) Most SQL Server DBAs (and maybe even a lot of IT professionals) want a technical answer to their HADR problem. They want to know if failover clustering, database mirroring, replication or log shipping is the best solution to their requirement. What’s funny is that when I ask them about what their RPO/RTO/SLAs are, they scratch their head and ask what those acronyms are. And when I start explaining these acronyms to them, they still want to hear what the best solution is for their requirement.

As I prepare for my presentation on Disaster Recovery Techniques for SQL Saturday #61 in Washington DC, I’ll be writing a series of articles about disaster recovery and what RPO/RTO/SLAs are and how they fit into the whole disaster recovery strategies. Before I dive into the “technology” part of the PPT ingredient for a successful HADR implementation, I will talk about the people and the process part first. Why? Because these two will drive the technology part of the whole strategy. And if you’re in the Washington DC area, feel free to drop by at the SQL Saturday event.