Your business critical application is not just your business critical application. Your application likely depends on multiple other applications, middleware, databases and their configurations in its ecosystem. As difficult as it is to keep that entire ecosystem properly configured and operational in a production environment, it is far more difficult to do so in a disaster recovery (DR) environment. After a disaster, getting your applications and your data back can be the “easy” part.
Business Continuity also requires getting your apps, middleware and databases properly re-configured in a disaster recovery environment. This requires a lot of time, stress and coffee.
If your applications and middleware configurations are not tuned and ready to go, then cancel your plans. You might have some very long days, nights and weekends ahead of you.
“Q: How do we document our Disaster Recovery environment?
A: Unfortunately it’s just Spreadsheets + Sharepoint + Hope”
– DevOps conference testimonial
Without proper, production-level configurations, your business critical applications and your data will live separately.
Can’t get there from here?
Think of the business critical applications that you need after recovering from a disaster. Now think through all of the related or supporting applications,databases, middleware and configurations that those key apps depend on. In some organizations you might have 10 or more supporting apps that are required to function properly – just as a prerequisite to accessing your business critical applications.
Were those supporting configuration tuned properly before your disaster? Were they documented precisely?
Dependency Hell is not just a figure of speech.
So how can configuration management help ease the pain of disaster recovery?
- Manage the configurations of your applications in all their environments, including Production and DR.
- If you have to failover and for some reason your middleware isn’t configured correctly, you can quickly compare your last known Production configurations (before the outage) to your failover configurations and push the necessary changes to your failover endpoints. The advantage here is that your Production environment doesn’t need to be up for us to do this.
- After you push changes to Production, use configuration management software that specializes in applications and middleware (not servers, OS’s or networks) to push those same changes to your DR environment to make sure the configurations match.