Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

#BbW12 – Developing a Disaster Recovery Strategy

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  • Presenters: Alex Kissel, Brad Morgan
  • Blackboard Managed Hosting
    • Serves 8 of the 10 largest Bb deployments in the world
    • 7 production tier-4 data centres around the world
    • 250+ full time staff on 4 continents
    • 24 x 7 x 365
    • 5 petabytes of data
  • Don’t confuse disaster recovery with operational risks such as device or hardware failure.
  • There needs to be a set definition of disaster, driven by business impact and priority of mission critical apps.  It’s *always* about risk mitigation vs cost.
  • Define your requirements, what is the threshold for recovery?
  • Be aware that a disaster may cause usage to double – plan accordingly.
  • What is your DR objective?  Minimum basic function?  Full production availability, including dependency services and customizations / Building Blocks?
  • What is the plan for post-DR?
  • Lots of management teams will say “no downtime”…  until you show them the cost.  The resulting discussion will lead you to the reasonable mid-ground.
  • Change management – remember to upgrade your DR environment and keep it in-synch with your production environment.
  • Remember to test.  Blackboard requires 1 DR test per year that involves the business owners.  It won’t be perfect, it’s a learning opportunity to make improvements.
  • Make decisions based on your people and their skills.  Not on the technology.  The people are what will get you through a disaster.
  • Most institutions have 3-5 services that fall within their DR plans – the LMS is usually one of them.  Accompanied by email, payroll, SIS, etc.
  • Plan for loss, worst-case scenario.  For example, will your network be working?  Will DNS?  Blackboard asks clients to have a .blackboard.com address to account for worst-case scenarios – you could give this URL to users.
  • Post-DR transition back to your production environment is as much work as DR itself.
  • Managed Hosting
    • Uses NetApp OSSV to synch app data and Oracle archive logs in near to real time.
    • DataGuard applies archive logs on a set schedule.  This hinges on a requirement to force archive logs, at least every hour.  Otherwise…  you’ll lose data.
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Written by jlongland

July 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Posted in BbWorld 2012

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