Disaster Recovery Application Switcher (DRAS)

Demonstrating an organizations ability to invoke a disaster recovery plan is a regulatory requirement for certain institutions and needs to be performed on a regular basis.

Most organizations use the Domain Name System (DNS) to facilitate their Disaster Recovery plans.  DNS is used to route clients to “online” servers – it is already part of the infrastructure, and well understood.

However, reconfiguring DNS so that clients are redirected to the D/R datacenter instead of the production datacenter (and back again) is a labour intensive error-prone task, especially when there are hundreds of applications that need switching. Even a commercial IPAM solution only reduces the technical complexity involved, it does not remove the need to actually modify DNS records.

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Many organisations have separate server and network/telecoms teams, and DNS does not easily fit into either teams’ responsibility. When a service needs to be migrated, the DNS changes are often performed by a DNS operator who has to be available at unsociable hours to perform the change. This can sometimes lead to extended outages and risks breaching the business RTO (Recovery Time Objective) if the appropriate personnel are not available in times of an emergency. If lesser skilled staff are utilised, errors can be introduced because of the technical complexity of the DNS changes.

What is needed is a way to de-skill the process so that the operations team or service desk can perform these DNS changes themselves without introducing additional risk to the process.

The Solution

With Calleva Networks DRAS (D/R App Switcher) the DNS records that are required to run the application services in different modes can be predefined, and IT support teams can be empowered with the ability to switch the records into whichever mode is required (live, D/R, pre-prod, test, etc.).

Benefits

DRAS provides the following benefits:

  • Hide the underlying complexity of the DNS infrastructure – lesser skilled operators can invoke Disaster Recovery plans with no risk, removing the associated expensive outages
  • Remove the expense to train users on the DNS infrastructure – a simplified UI is provided for users to simply create and invoke jobs
  • Understand your organizations’ Disaster Recovery profile – meet your audit and compliance requirements
  • Delegate responsibility so that power users are no longer required to be available for network changes – cost savings are immediately realised from overtime and out of hours payments that would otherwise be made
  • Meet recovery time objectives – The Disaster Recovery process is streamlined, and many services can be failed over quickly in one go

Understand your Disaster Recovery Profile

The DRAS dashboard provides an instant snapshot of what services are in what state, and how frequently Disaster Recovery is being invoked. This important Management Information helps organizations meet their audit and planning requirements.

dras dashboard v2

 

Delegate Responsibility

DRAS provides a flexible and granular permissions model, supporting delegation and separation of responsibilities. This is backed with a granular audit log so that organizations can understand exactly what happened and who was responsible for a particular change.

dras permissions v2

Seemlessly Switch Between Datacenters

Many services can be failed over over at once.  1, 10 or 100, even entire datacenters can be failed over.  Users are prompted for minimal information, and jobs are run quickly and efficiently providing feedback of progress.

dras run job v2

IPAM System Integration

DRAS uses standard API’s to integrate with the underlying IPAM/DNS solution. Infoblox is supported out of the box via the Infoblox RESTful API, and we can also integrate with other systems through standard Dynamic DNS support (e.g. Bluecat, BT Diamond IP, Microsoft DNS and servers running BIND).

With Infoblox, DRAS can integrate with multiple grids and manage DNS data in multiple DNS views – we’ll add support for other vendors API’s if there is demand and if it can provide additional benefits over standard DDNS support.

Next Steps

With Calleva Networks DRAS, many man hours of tedious work can be saved and an organisations agility can be improved by streamlining the disaster recovery process.

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