Your DR Plan isn’t a Plan


My apologies, but someone had to tell you.

You don’t have a Disaster Recovery Plan™. You have a Disaster Recovery Hope. (paraphrased from a source I’ve forgotten…)

If I’m wrong (and I hope I am), its because you are in the 10% (optimistically) of companies that actually test their DR plans and document the results.

In the 18 years I’ve been asking the following question, I’ve gotten one excellent and correct response, and one that was good, but I still poked holes in it.

“If your most important database server melted right now, how long until you are back online?”

I get a lot of responses on this question:

  • 2 days
  • 30 minutes
  • I don’t know
  • Blank Stares (its a response…just a scary one)

If you are not testing your DR plan, you may be betting your company’s existence on a flawed premise: “Our people know what to do. We have backups.”

If your DR plan is a digital “living document” that lives on your Sharepoint server, you are already in trouble.  Everyone involved needs a current, non-digital copy on their desk and at their home.

Disaster recovery is about far more than restoring databases.  But, for my mostly-SQL Server audience, let me ask you this:

Can you do an emergency test restore of your most mission critical database onto identical hardware, to a point 27.5 minutes ago and have everything work as expected?

If you don’t do test restores, you are HOPING your backups are valid. If you don’t have the ability to replace critical hardware or spin up an identical VM, you are HOPING that your server or SAN never fails.

If you are running through your DR Plan regularly, with everyone ready to go and knowing their place in the process…you are HOPING the next disaster happens when everyone is available, online and up to speed.   What if that disaster happens when your Sr. DBA is on vacation?  Who is her backup? A Jr. DBA?

If you don’t know the answer to the “How long…” question above, you really should go find out who in your organization does.  If nobody does, contact me.

If you think you have it 100% nailed…I challenge you to let me into your server room unattended.

Thanks for reading!


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