Fail To Plan Then You Are Planning To Fail


I think we have all heard this at some point in our lives, but when it comes to Disaster Recovery Plans I’m getting more and more nervous about folks that seem to have NO plan.  Better yet they have no idea HOW to plan for various circumstances.  Having been part of multiple Disaster Recovery planning projects as an admin and a consultant I really start to wonder how people manage on with their business with some of the questions they ask when it comes to disaster recovery services.  I will warn you I am turning on the “Rant Light” for the duration of this post so be warned”

Some of the things I have been asked lately simply make me want to put a bucket on my head and run full bore into a wall.  Seriously, I ask myself how folks are running a business when they ask questions or make comments like:

“We don’t know where our external DNS is running”

“How will clients get to applications once we change IP addresses after failover?”

“How do we update DNS for a web server that’s been failed over and has a new external IP?”

“How do we deal with Active Directory?”

“What is our overall process to recover our applications?”

“What order do we bring systems up?”

The answer to all these and more is pretty simple if you know about your internal systems.  Personally, I cannot possibly answer these questions, I’m not a PSO consultant anymore.  What you need is some help in getting to the bottom of things and putting your own plan together.  Maybe it’s just frustrating to me because I spent so much of my career learning about the systems I was managing and understanding them so I could write such plans.  It’s a lot of work, I assure you and everyone’s use cases and situations are completely different.

I have said this a thousand times, but just replicating your machines from point A to point B is not a plan, it is simply a cog in a much larger wheel.  It’s a great start to ensuring your data is in another place so you can do something with them, but the ultimate question is now what do you do?  The PLAN is all about the people, process, and procedures YOU need to invoke either manually or via automation and scripting to recover your applications.  What is most interesting is how many things are actually name resolution issue based either internally or externally.  If people are not using DNS for access to applications at this stage of the game your DR plan will be very difficult to write.

Like anything in life there is no magic “pill” or button you can push that does everything without the initial plan for it.  If you don’t know what systems are all talking to what, how can you know what to bring up first?  If you are not accessing your applications or servers via DNS, then yeah, you will have a ton of work if you are changing IP addresses.  If you have no idea how to update a DNS record for an external web server or even know where that is running….how can you expect to get your website back online?

I’m a planner, I always have been just ask my wife.  I try to document and understand the connection points of different things long BEFORE I start implementing the plan I have in mind.  I guess what I am saying is all of this certainly is something consultants,  PSO, partners, anyone with expertise can help you with if you are not even sure where to start.  Just know if you are asking these basic questions you may need help writing your plan.  At the end of the day only YOU can dictate the inputs to the plan and someone can help guide you to the final plan.

Okay the “Rant Light” is off.  You are now more than welcome to voice your own opinions, agree, disagree, dislike me or otherwise.

About Chris Colotti

Chris is active on the VMUG and event speaking circuit and is available for many events if you want to reach out and ask. Previously to this he spent close to a decade working for VMware as a Principal Architect. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spends a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her promotional products as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years.

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