How a K-12 school district passed its Azure Site Recovery testing with flying colors

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Failing is not an option. In the case of a K-12 school district, however, failing over was literally not an option.

The school district was supposed to have a disaster recovery plan in place with a desired recovery point objective (RPO) of 15 minutes. However, it had doubts.

The school district had an Azure footprint. However, when a former systems integrator configured Azure Site Recovery (ASR), it refused do a failover test for the school district. As a result, the school district wasn’t 100% certain its system would work if it ever had to fail over an entire data center, or even a single application, during a disaster.

This was a major concern. It turns out, the school district was right to feel this way.

In desperate need of a make-up exam

The school district had worked with SHI before, most recently on a year-long data center refresh project using Nutanix. Having been pleased with the results, it brought in SHI to consult on its current Azure predicament.

During this one-hour follow-up call, SHI’s ASR specialist generated and reviewed the school district’s ASR Planning Tool report to confirm configurations, and discovered a big problem: It wasn’t configured correctly.

Furthermore, ASR wasn’t even licensed correctly – the school district couldn’t spin up the right number of databases even if it wanted to – and a playbook – required for a failover – wasn’t set up.

Using its current configuration, the school district wouldn’t have been able to failover to the recovery site.

Doing things right the second time

The school district lacked a legitimate plan for data integrity. It didn’t have a mechanism for recovering data or ensuring there was governance around the breadth of its data.

After assessing the situation, SHI set out to reconfigure the school district’s environment.

SHI created a true ASR playbook and redeployed ASR so the school district could meet its desired RPO and recovery time objectives (RTO). This entailed making every application consistent by grouping all the servers by their respective workloads.

SHI performed a successful test failover of a single workload, and followed that up with an actual failover of a separate workload to verify. This failed back to the production environment after deployment – another A+.

What a difference a trusted partner makes

Before, the school district could only deploy parts of ASR. It was not a complete recovery solution, just merely snapshotting to the cloud.

After working with SHI, the school district has a completely recoverable environment with all workloads protected.

It’s safe to say that what was once an area of concern for the school district has since been replaced with a feeling of overwhelming confidence.

Disasters happen. Now, at least, the school district knows it has one less thing to worry about.

Steve Krems, Nick O’Leary, Chris Tierney, and Todd Wolff contributed to this post.