I read a petty interesting blog post from Citrix a while back that took me aback. They talked about how end users shouldn’t use their premier VDI solution XenDesktop as a disaster recovery solution. My initial reaction was that of “Are they not even trying to sale their product.” The author’s rationale is that you don’t want to use a different solution for end user access in DR than you do in production. In a DR state end users may not get the support that they need to effectively do their work. This is debatable but the idea got me to thinking about using a Cloud based datacenter as a DR for traditional datacenter services and if the operations continuality concerns stretched to the datacenter.
It’s actually my opinion that DR is a great place to start building your Cloud based datacenter strategy. It can actually start in the production datacenter and work its way to a hot/standby datacenter. If you are using Windows Server 2012 you can actually cluster a physical server with a virtual server by leveraging Windows native clustering. The clusters can be configured and Active/Passive nodes with the active host being the physical server and the passive node being the VM. This allows you to oversubscribe the physical virtual host with dozens of passive nodes depending on your application mix and hardware configuration.
Once you are comfortable with this operations model you can begin to extend this out to a geographically disperse datacenter. I doubt that you would have the storage and network design to continue to leverage Windows native clustering but you can definitely begin to experiment with different replication methods for keeping your physical workloads replicated to your backup site. The key is that now your operations team is familiar with working with Cloud based resources and will not be in unchartered territory in case of an actual DR event. What’s more is that you’ve introduced the concept of Cloud based resources in your datacenter in a relatively low risk manner.
Your datacenter DR strategy leverage Cloud based resources?