It's always something that we must account for, yet, we hardly act on it. It's a burden of time, money, and energy, yet, it's an absolute necessity. You know exactly what I'm talking about... Disaster Recovery.
During the phases of executing on your DR strategy, there are two very important metrics that you must determine
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO) - What's the amount of data loss that can be sustained?
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO) - How long will it take you to get those systems back up from your RPO?
The RPO phase is determined by business factors. The RTO is determined on the technical capability. In the past, the only real way to test your RTO was to actually execute it in a sandbox environment. Some of you may have VMware SRM which allows you to run a test. However, that test doesn't take into account tertiary VMs that aren't protected by SRM. What if you don't have SRM, how can you get a good baseline?
Today, PHDVirtual launched a new FREE tool called Recovery Time Actual calculator. It does exactly what you think it does, it will see how long it would take for all your virtual machines to spin up.
The Free RTA Calculator:
- Eliminates manual disaster recovery testing
- Produces the actual recovery time for a VM, or group of VMs, on VMware with minimal impact on your production environment
- Provides a fast and convenient way to estimate Recovery Time Objectives for Backup plans, Disaster Recovery plans, and SLA plans
- Enables periodic comparison of Recovery Time Actuals to Recovery Time Objectives
- Allows you to adjust your RTOs and SLAs over time as your environment grows and changes
- Can be run as often as required and under different production conditions, with any group of VMs to be estimated
How does it work? Very Simple actually:
- Register and download the tool on to a Windows machine. No installation is necessary since it's just a simple executable
- Connect the tool to your vCenter Server
- After a successful connection, we see the main screen
- Now we need to Add all the virtual machines we want to test. You can choose as many as you want
- In any typical RTO scenario, we have to make sure our boot order is set accordingly. Nothing ever works without having an Active Directory or Database VMs up first. Use the Up and Down arrows to set your boot order according to your specifications
- Now lets click the "Run RTA Check" button and watch what happens.
- The screen is showing Virtual Machines booting up and using a stopwatch for time keeping, but how is it doing that? It's actually pretty clever. During the boot order sequence, all the virtual machines in that slot (1, 2, 3, etc) are having snapshots taken of their current state and then Linked Clones are created from that snapshot. The Linked Clone is given a vm name of "OriginalName.phd.rta".
- To make sure there is no network issue, the Linked Clone has its network adapter taken offline.
- After the test is complete, the snapshots and Linked Clone VMs in that boot order are deleted from inventory and the next boot order slot begins.
A pretty snazzy tool if you ask me. There are only a few things to remember:
- The RTA Calculator is a Windows application that requires an Administrator account and .Net 4.0.
- The RTA Calculator supports VMware ESX or ESXi with vCenter 4.0 (or higher) with default ports.
- The RTA Calculator will need the VMware guest tools installed on the VMs. This is a detection mechanism used to know when the Operating System has been completely booted.
- There needs to be ample CPU/RAM/Disk resources available for the VMs in the boot order slot to boot up
Try it in your environment by going to the PHDVirutual FREE Disaster Recovery Calculator homepage.