This short video features one of our resellers, Brian Childers of Comport Consulting Group, (http://comportcorp.com/about/) a company that provides clients with solutions to improve profitability and efficiency through the deployment of process and technology solutions, including IT strategy, IT executive advisory, SaaS and cloud computing. Comport has worked with Global Data Vault as a reseller for 7 years and here Brian shares his experience of exchange server recovery with Global Data Vault.
One of Comport Consulting Group’s clients is a large suburban municipality providing state of the art services for its citizens including fire, police, parks and recreation, animal services, libraries, schools, and more. Unfortunately, the municipality lost their Exchange Server, not only halting these various government operations but also the efficiency of the police department and first responders. As Brian says “In a situation where the first responders are not getting their communications that can mean the difference between life and death.”
Brian goes on to describe getting in touch with Global Data Vault and what happened next, “Recovery happened immediately and they had the server rebuilt and restored in two hours. That is very impressive”
Why Rug Doctor Calls GDV the Real Disaster Recovery Solution
“… within 2 hours they had all four servers set up in a virtual environment.”
Tornado season is coming to a close for most of the country, but it hasn’t been without event. We never like to hear of a major tornado affecting any of our clients, but when it does, we’re happy that we can help them maintain their business operations with little to no interruption.
This video features one of our customers, Rug Doctor, a national leader in hot water extraction carpet-cleaning machines and supporting products. Rug Doctor has a major plant facility in the heart of Tornado Alley, in Fenton, Missouri, plus they have 35 warehouse distribution points and service centers around the US. Additionally, their international operations include a manufacturing facility in the UK and warehouse distribution in Canada, Puerto Rico, Australian and 20 other countries. All of those locations rely on connectivity to the main office to keep their operations running smoothly.
In 2013, a tornado went directly over Fenton causing considerable damage to Rug Doctor infrastructure there. With 30 servers running in their server environment and handling over 3 million transactions a year it is easy to understand the commercial devastation that could have been caused when the May 18–21, 2013 tornado outbreak resulted in the destruction of the warehouse and lossof their computer room. Luckily Rug Doctor has been a Global Data Vault since 2010. Watch this one minute video to hear Bill Ellis, Manager of IT Infrastructure for Rug Doctor, explain what happened that day and just why he calls Global Data Vault the ‘real disaster recovery solution’.
Try This Interactive Disaster Map
Any hurricane is cause for alarm and we’re glad hurricane Arthur dissolved without hugely significant damage to the US as compared to some of Arthur’s predecessors. However, the chances of another hurricane striking that same area are noteworthy as based on our research portrayed within this infographic.
As you can see, we are enthusiastic about maps layered with data, and the interesting hypotheses that can be made from them. Because we are in the business of disaster recovery, we are especially intrigued by maps that illustrate high risk areas for natural disasters. It should serve as no surprise that when we found this interactive map from National Geographic, we just had to share it.
Called a “Doomsday Disaster Map,” it’s probably the inspiration for numerous future Hollywood blockbusters. It’s no wonder the map is the basis for NatGeo’s primetime show called “Doomsday Preppers.” The show features “ordinary” people who are preparing for the end of the world through many ingenious – and extreme — means.
Whether you tune into the show or not, this map is an engaging examination of how different disasters could unfold across the US. With a few clicks you can speculate how a super volcano in Yellowstone, a mega earthquake, an agriculture collapse, solar flare, nuclear fallout, or even a pandemic may affect you. Interesting at the least, memorable for sure.
These are exactly the type opf scenarios that we advise preparing for with a cloud disaster recovery plan. We apologize in advance if you are awake at 3 a.m. still thinking about it, but take a look.
What does a federal disaster area have to do with my taxes?
When disaster hits an area, stories of mass destruction fill the news headlines, estimates of the total loss are in everyone’s conversations. Disaster relief efforts swarm the area, and the very last thing anyone is thinking about in the throes of recovery from a mega disaster, is what tax implications it will have on them.
As you might guess, the tax code is as thick as mud on the subject. There are numerous exemptions one can be awarded – if they meet the strict qualification guidelines. The most basic example for residents of an area that has been declared a federal disaster area is that they are able to exclude disaster relief payments from gross income.
We’ve found an interesting article that discusses many of the scenarios of disaster relief and tax code implications, including casualty losses, involuntary conversion, lost tax information, travel expenses for disaster victims and more. Read it in full here in the article, “Tax Implications of Natural Disasters” by Todd Pefferman.
Using Virtual Environments for Disaster Recovery – Managing Configuration
Creating a virtual environment for your server system is part of every disaster recovery plan. Off the shelf virtualization technology such as VMWare, Hyper-V and Virtual Box, allow you to create a software representation of all the hardware and software associated with a server. Essentially you’re taking a physical server and translating all that hardware into software.
When we describe the virtualization part of the process, it sounds a bit like magic, but it is not. There is significant configuration to put in place in order to make it work.
Translating the hardware into software is necessary so that the entire “workload” – which is everything that server does whether it’s a email server or application server, or whatever that particular server’s function is – can be duplicated and moved to the cloud. This virtual machine must function just as its physical machine twin, so if something happens in the real world environment, there is an exact duplicate in a virtual environment.
This magical process becomes complex when the time comes to recover or fail over to the virtual machine you’ve created. Ensuring the correct hardware/driver configurations can pose a formidable challenge in the virtual environment.
This image represents all the virtual devices that have to be configured correctly before your VM environment will function properly:
- Disk interfaces
- Network interfaces
- Video drivers
- Communications ports
- Optical drive controllers
- Printer ports
- USB drivers
For the virtualization and failover to be successful, the virtual machine has to have the exact specifications of what the finished machine is supposed to look like before the conversion is performed, including memory, what kind and how many processors, network cards and interfaces how many and what, etc.
Configuring these environments is a sophisticated project that can be time consuming for even the senior IT professional. For most 5 – 8 server environments, a day should be allocated for this project alone — and that’s if the virtualization goes smoothly.
Global Data Vault Builds Clients Virtual Environments
An added benefit of Global Data Vault’s disaster recovery solution is that we take care of all this for you. Our competitors make this a client-run project but GDV is different. We build the virtual environment for our clients before even installing the databases, and we continually monitor all the components that make up your network servers for any changes.
Building the virtual environment is quite expeditious (typically only requires about an hour) and we monitor any hardware and software revisions on an ongoing daily basis. By updating your virtual environment in real time, we eliminate your downtime when a real disaster occurs.
When you’re buying a new desktop or server, it’s not uncommon to receive the device with a copy of Microsoft Windows already installed. This convenience provided by the manufacture is designed to alleviate the additional steps for the customer of having to purchase and install Windows in order to use their new device. These copies of Microsoft Windows that have been installed on machines prior to shipment are called OEM copies, and seem like a benefit to have – until you have a hardware melt down.
There’s an economic benefit of receiving a unit with the software preinstalled, but the downside is that you cannot move it to any other server or environment. The MAC address for the computer is forever tied to the specific copy of Windows, and designed as such so that software piracy can be kept at bay. However if you have a legitimate need to reinstall your copy of Windows on another machine, you’ll receive error messages and it simply will not work.
Dealing with Microsoft Windows is significant. Any Windows network of any size will have an active directory which is the repository of user names, user permissions, passwords, permissions and connections that make the network run. It’s tricky to back up and restore the active directory properly because its very sensitive to changes in configuration, and that sensitivity prompts error messages when the restore process begins. There’s a pretty big chance the active directory won’t start in most system restores.
Not only are those “active directory” messages annoying, they can be a detriment to business in downtime and loss productivity. Consider the common disaster recovery strategy to move a full-blown server image, including that OEM copy of Windows. The problem occurs when you have to restore the backup to another machine because Windows won’t recognize the new MAC address. Its alarm bells go off, paired with a warning message that says you have to call Microsoft… and that’s when the torture begins.
You can avoid calling Microsoft and try calling the machine manufacturer instead, but they’ll ask you to retrieve the original activation codes that came with the hardware or server, which can be a significant challenge in the event of a real disaster. What if those activation codes just blew across Kansas in a tornado?
GDV avoids these errors entirely by using a separate and proprietary tool that tracks any changes to hardware or network configuration changes. GDV is alerted to any changes within our client’s active directories, allowing us to adjust and restore to the right environment with a significantly greater likelihood of success. Our extensive experience restoring these active directories and professional contacts within Microsoft means we can cut through the red tape to get your system restored ASAP. GDV provides this service for our customers on a routine basis and we even test it on a quarterly basis. We are confident that in the event of a real disaster recovery scenario, we can have your system restored in short order because we’ve already done it during our test cycles.