How to Avoid Hardware/ Software Drift

I’ve been writing about the hidden hazards of do-it-yourself disaster recovery. One of these hazards is hardware/software drift. Since your disaster recovery site represents a working replica of the production environment, it will need to be maintained on an ongoing basis. There are several strategies for how hardware and software are provisioned for your DR site. The strategies you choose will determine the how much maintenance will be needed to keep your DR site running at an optimal level.

There are two main techniques for acquiring hardware for a disaster recovery site, although you may want to use a combination of both. One technique is to replace hardware (i.e. a server) that is no longer covered by warranty with new hardware and use the old hardware for disaster recovery. Another strategy is to buy or lease new equipment to use at the DR site.

Most organizations going the DIY route choose to use old equipment because of the low upfront costs. But the challenge with using old equipment is that the hardware is not exactly like the production hardware. This can cause problems with drivers, CPU capabilities and general hardware maintenance. However, buying or leasing new hardware for the disaster recovery site is expensive and can be difficult to justify. When deciding whether or not to buy new equipment, remember to calculate the extra maintenance costs required to keep the DR site up to date in parallel with the production site.

Depending on the strategy you choose, you will need to keep software licenses, patch levels, and upgrades in sync. This is also true for applications, operating systems, infrastructure (firmware), and hypervisors. Syncing your applications can significantly increase the amount of work required to maintain a disaster recovery site. Learn more about syncing your primary and colocation sites in the nScaled white paper The 5 Things That Can Go Wrong With DIY Disaster Recovery5 Things That Can Go Wrong With DIY DR