High available or duplicate systems, online in a DR scenario


We are planning to create an IT DR site where a copy of the running systems in production would be kept in an online state. The IT DR site is connected over an MPLS link and is accessible from the primary site as though on the same LAN albeit a different subnet and has a windows 2003 domain controller extending the same domain/ forest to the DR site as it is on the primary.

The complexity arises in the following:

We have about 50 member servers with varied applications but base OS are all Windows 2K3 and 2008. Single domain, single forest environment.

We intend to use Vmware's physical to virtual feature in order to take a copy of running servers, create a virtual disk and host it at the DR site in a virtualised environment.

There is a need to keep the virtualised servers running at all times so that Antivirus and patch / updates can be maintained.

How should the FQDN , IPs and DNS names be maintained at the DR site? If we do not attach the DR servers to domain (single DNS environment), how would we perform the bi-annual testing to have a sufficient confidence of invoking DR and maintain our required recovery time objectives?

Has anyone been there and done that?
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Yep...actually, I have :)

I don't think you can do what you are truly wanting to, though. I'll share with you how we have our DR set up:
First, for our "regular" VMs (non-DB or cluster-type VMs...and VMs with no RDMs attached to them), we replicate them to our DR site using Veeam Backup&Replication (http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esx-backup.html). It's a pretty cool tool...for both VM b/u and replication as it uses de-dup'ing technology. Restoring is pretty neat as well. You don't need to have a "live" identical VM running, which you can't do on the same domain, but what you do if your Main site goes down (and your VMs at your Main site with it), you can use Veeam to power up your replica VM and be instantly up.

We have our remote DR site setup somewhat like yours, network-wise (same VLAN as our Main site), to make it an easier transition.

How we have our Exchg/ SQL (RDM-attached VMs) set up DR-wise is this way (I'll provide an ex. of our Exchg server for simplicity's sake):
1. Exchg VM at main branch
2. Storage Groups are on SAN LUNs connected to VM via RDM
3. Backup the SGs each night with EMC Avamar (b/u tool that does de-dup'ing, so all of our data/DB b/u's are FULL b/u's)
4. Have 2 Avamar 'nodes' (appliances)...1 at main branch and 1 at DR location; data is replicated between Avamar b/u nodes each night so we have a copy of b/u data @ DR site
5. I did a migration (copy) of my Exchg server to my DR location (only the C: drive VMDK), but it's off
6. I created 'disk space' for my DR Exchg VM storage groups (info stores) via a direct-attached MSA device; this MSA is our mock DR SAN storage and is connected to my DR ESX host
7. If my Exchg VM at my main branch goes down, I power up the copied VM at my DR location and do a restore of my SGs from my DR backup Avamar node; because Avamar is a de-dup b/u technology,  it doesn't take long to restore my SGs (4 in all totaling 60GB...about an hour to restore all 4)

Yes, the VM will be out of date with Windows updates and A/V definitions, but that's it. It'll pick those up via WSUS & our A/V Admin server shortly after. This solution works as my Director and I tested this last year.

I'm not sure this is what you're wanting exactly?

The ONLY other way to do somewhat of a DR scenario (that I can think of) is to use MS Clustering or VMware Site Recovery Mgr (I haven't used either).

Hope that at least gives you some more ideas of which direction you may want to go?


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