Types of disaster-recovery tests

Today's tip (like yesterday's tip - it's a DR weekend here at QTT) comes from Klaus Schmidt's High Availability and Disaster Recovery. In the book Schmidt outlines three broad categories for disaster-recovery testing:

  • Hot simulation/fire drill: This is simply a walk through of the DR procedures. You're just making sure all the steps still make sense, everyone has what they need, and everyone knows what to do. A lot of corporations do these fire drills on a regular basis (quarterly, annually, etc...).

  • Singe component: A single component of the DR system is activated and used for functional or performance testing. Often when a piece of the primary system is updated, the DR component will also be updated and tested. When I was doing a lot of performance testing, this happened quite a bit.

  • Complete environment: In this category, the primary systems are deactivated and the DR systems are activated. This is a full test of the DR environment: systems and processes.

For more on HA and DR, pick up the book. It's a fairly dry read, but the author made it quite skim-able and it's packed full of great information.