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Disaster Recovery Plan for SharePoint Server 2016

By CIOReview | Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Modern day organizations need mission-critical applications, communication, productivity, and collaboration solutions to be flexible and cost-effective. SharePoint 2016 is offering the much needed assistance to firms’ inorder to achieve greater level of performance and reliability with features that simplify administration, fortify communication and information, empowering users and business mobility. However, the business operations simply cannot run without complete uptime of this technology. Disaster Recovery (DR) is the crucial part when it comes to conserve SharePoint Server to mitigate from the host server failure, natural events and its cause to any disaster. IT managers and CIOs should understand the available DR options and supported technologies to plan for recovering SharePoint 2016.

Plan According to the Organizational Need

For an effective DR it is sufficient to plan according to the prerequisite of an organization. The requirements are simply expressed by using the two measures: Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The necessities of RPO and RTO can be derived by determining the downtime cost encountered by the organization if a disaster takes place. However, downtime cost varies between different organizations, due to the size and application of business, system outage as well as data center shutdown. As a best practice it is recommended by Microsoft to identify and quantify the requirements of RPO and RTO before planning to implement a recovery strategy for SharePoint Server farm.

Standby Data Center Recovery Options

Recovery of SharePoint does not focus on the scale and type of a disaster. It involves the use of standby data center that an organization leverages to recover the farm. When local redundant systems and backups are not effective to recover from the outage at the primary data center, standby data centers can be used for the recovery. The standby data centers are used to get a replacement farm with respect to time and location and are differentiated into cold, warm, and hot standby.

Cold Standby Strategy

Cold Standby is a secondary data center that can offer availability within hours or days. An enterprise can transfer backups regularly to support bare metal retrieval to local and regional offsite storage, and can have contracts in place for emergency server renting in another location. It is considered to be the cheapest option for maintaining SharePoint Server. However, it is expensive in terms of recovering as it requires physical servers to be configured properly after a disaster has happened. In cold standby recovery, organizations can recuperate by setting up a new farm in a new location, restoring backups, and recover by using backup solution such as System Center 2012—Data Protection Manager.

Warm Standby Recovery

Warm standby facilitates virtual machine images or backups to local and regional disaster recovery farms. It can be time-consuming and expensive to maintain but fairly comes under budget recovery since its virtual server farm requires little configuration during recovery. Administrators can employ Hyper-V as an in-house solution and Azure as a hosted solution to offer essential infrastructure for recovery.

Hot Standby Recovery

It helps to recover from other farm, when a failure happens at the primary farm. SharePoint Central Administration website's content database and configuration database are to be built separately and must be upheld on the failover farm. Every customization needs to be employed on both farms. SQL Server, SharePoint product software, and operating system updates must be applied to both farms, to maintain a consistent configuration across both farms. For network bandwidth and latency, it is recommended to approach with the SAN vendor to find using SAN replication or another back up mechanism to offer hot standby accessibility across data centers.

Service Application Redundancy

For services that can be run cross-farm, it is recommended to operate a separate services farm—which can be accessed from both the primary and secondary data centers. For services that cannot be run cross-farm, the strategy will vary depending on the business value running the service application in the DR farm when it is not being used, databases associated with the service application, and application run against read-only databases. In this case, look for the high supported and availability choices for SharePoint databases 2016.

System Needs for Recovery

For a successful outcome of disaster recovery strategy, it is very crucial to have the necessary system requirements such as hardware, platform, and number of servers. For a minimum, the failover environment should be able to handle the expected traffic during failure. The set up of the failover system should have operating system version, SQL Server versions, SharePoint Server versions and all their updates. In addition, it is also important to have the availability of infrastructure components such as network, directory, power, SMTP, and switching mechanism—whether DNS or hardware load balancing—according to the need.