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One of the most compelling reasons to virtualize your servers is to create a highly-available computing environment.

Traditional business continuity has a lot of moving parts, including:

  1. Backup media – traditional tapes, portable hard-drives; these are risks – to your data and to your recovery plan.
  2. People – human resources are traditionally relocated for tests and true recovery scenarios.
  3. Stop watch – days are often required for traditional recovery methods.

Server virtualization, using industry leading virtualization technology such as VMware, provides tremendous resiliency improvements, including:

  1. Disk based backup & replication – data is afforded the same domain level security that is used to protect it in production.
  2. Non-disruptive testing – often from the comfort of your own home, setting up test labs and recovery scenarios is seamless, and doesn’t require that production be “taken down”.
  3. Easy recovery – on-site Virtual Machine (VM) fail-over can be automated; off-site recoveries can be completed in hours or even minutes instead of days.
  4. Improved Security – reduce the risk of lost storage devices and unsecured test environments.

Cloud-based server virtualization takes these benefits to the next level.  By leveraging a trusted cloud virtualization partner, you also gain the benefits of:

  1. On-Demand Scalability – many disaster recovery environments are undersized to avoid the capital cost of maintaining an equally sized standby environment.  Hosted VMs can often be reserved for a low monthly cost, and then scaled during a disaster to meet the specific recovery scenario’s needs.
  2. Hybrid solutions – cloud providers often offer more than one backup and recovery technology, allowing for an organization to benefit from best-of-breed technology to fit their data protection and recovery needs without having to test, invest and commit long-term to one-solution-fits-all approaches.
  3. Self-Service recoveries – though the fail-over systems and tools are typically managed in a cloud environment, the administrators tools included with the service should provide self-service recovery for individual files and emails, along with full servers and server environments.

Not all virtualization and cloud platforms present the same recovery capabilities.  It is important to first understand your business continuity objectives, including Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), to help ensure you select wisely and your investment produces the expected results.