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Hardware Thread, Fast supplier for servers in the event of disaster? in Technical; I am currently preparing our disaster recovery documentation and one thing I am struggling with is how we could quickly ...
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    reggiep's Avatar
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    Fast supplier for servers in the event of disaster?

    I am currently preparing our disaster recovery documentation and one thing I am struggling with is how we could quickly purchase servers to get us up and running again.
    Does anybody have this sort of detail in their disaster recovery documentation?
    I did spec up the equivalent kit from dell but their turn round time is a bit slow!!

    thanks

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    clodhopper's Avatar
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    You could talk to the guys at "ServerSource" they supply B grade Dell kit but think they hold a lot of stock so might have fast turnaround in a disaster case :-/

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    reggiep (7th May 2013)

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    Could you how a hold one server at a friendly school that is ready to roll with hyper visor already in place?

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    reggiep (7th May 2013)

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    reggiep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicholab View Post
    Could you how a hold one server at a friendly school that is ready to roll with hyper visor already in place?
    I like the sound of that.
    We don't fully virtualise yet but that sounds like an interesting idea!

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    clodhopper's Avatar
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    If you could agree on a spec with the other school maybe you could group together & hold servers for each other, that way you could have fast access to two servers if you could hold you "hot spare" somewhere away from the main server rooms ??

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    reggiep (7th May 2013)

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    glennda's Avatar
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    I would just put a list of suppliers in the document and the specs required, then its a case of going with whoever can get you the kit the quickest in the event of DR.

    All depends on your projected RTO's (Recovery time Objective, ie how long do you have to get things running)

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    reggiep (7th May 2013)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reggiep View Post
    I am currently preparing our disaster recovery documentation and one thing I am struggling with is how we could quickly purchase servers to get us up and running again.
    You want a "business continuity" solution of some kind, which tend to be expensive. One option I've seen recently is to have your backups done to Amazon's system, then if you need to you can start up your backups of virtual machines in Amazon's cloud - you just need to find somewhere to plug in a working laptop and get power and Internet access and you can start using your servers and accessing your data. In a school-burns-down scenario that means you could get to your MIS to get child details and so on in half an hour or so, but it probably doesn't help much in a plain server-conks-out scenario where you just want a working server as soon as possible. I've seen a couple of "cloud gateway" solutions around that let you backup data in Amazon's (or another providor's) system but have a local cache - if you can find one of those that supports making VM images available as iSCSI targets you could have a simple local device that lets you access backed-up data from Amazon until your full-blown replacement server can be built and delivered.

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    We have a cheap HP tower server and QNAP nas box in a cupboard on the other side of the school. We replicate to this every night with veeam, and could bring up enough servers on it to keep some staff working.

    We also backup to our partner school, but they only host files, we don't have any spare hardware there. When they have virtualised their servers, I might look at adding more ram at both sites so we could help each other out in an emergency.

    In terms of needing new equipment, I think our disaster recovery plan specifies several days before we could obtain new servers. We also have enough redundancy to cope if we lost an individual vhost.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I don't see the need to specify suppliers - in an emergency, 10 minutes of calling around server suppliers would get you sorted. There are so many server suppliers in the UK, not to mention the distributors who hold stock also (which many suppliers use instead of their own warehousing), specifying suppliers is somewhat superfluous.

    Being able to get back up and running with a key system like an AD server and SIMS - you could even pop to a PC World and buy an i7 PC for instant access.

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    reggiep's Avatar
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    Restoring 2008 R2 needs to have drive size at least the same size if not bigger so I guess we could restore to a pc at a push!

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    There are multiple main distributors in UK which hold stock of the most common parts such as C2000, Ingram Micro, AVnet, Westcoast etc. Depending on who your suppliers use there is always stock on the channel and available next day 99.9% of the time, and in the event of DR having first choice hardware isn't always nessicarly getting up and running is, it can always be migrated after.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    That's the beauty of it - you don't *need* everything back up immediately. You have critical systems like ad and Sims, and everything else is important but secondary. So a pc should be able to cope with those key systems until your proper replacement servers arrive.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    That's the beauty of it - you don't *need* everything back up immediately. You have critical systems like ad and Sims, and everything else is important but secondary. So a pc should be able to cope with those key systems until your proper replacement servers arrive.
    100% agree everything should be back in a timely order, but its having priorities hence the point in planning properly and also getting it all in and tested. In all the DR plans and testing I have done there is always something which crops up which affects RPO and RTO's and the order in which services need to be brought back online.

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    Not just your servers you need to consider, you need to consider your network equipment and even links?

    You need to note any line details and supplier contact numbers too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    you could even pop to a PC World and buy an i7 PC for instant access.
    That's a good point - pretty much any spare PC with a processor with hardware virtulisation support will run a couple of VMs for a basic network. I wonder if you could make a Linux boot disk that used any local drive as a cache for a cloud-backed storage volume?

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