This topic describes considerations in planning disaster recovery.

Creating the disaster recovery plan

To ensure that all your systems and data can be quickly restored to normal operation in the event of a natural or human-caused disaster, you should have a well-thought-out disaster recovery plan in place. As you create this plan, consider the various disaster scenarios that might impact your organization, including natural disasters, such as a fire, and technical disasters, such as a two-disk failure in a RAID-5 array. When you create a disaster recovery plan, identify the steps necessary to respond to each type of disaster. Testing the recovery steps for each scenario is essential. Microsoft recommends that you verify the robustness of your disaster recovery plan through simulation of a catastrophic event.

Consider disaster recovery planning in light of your particular environmental and business needs. For example, suppose a fire occurs and wipes out your 24-hour data center. Are you certain you can recover? How long will it take you to recover and have your system available? How much data loss can your users tolerate?

Ideally, your disaster recovery plan will specify how long recovery will take, as well as the final database state that users can expect. For example, you might determine that after the acquisition of replacement hardware, recovery will be completed in 48 hours, and data will be guaranteed only until the end of the previous week.

A disaster recovery plan can be structured in many different ways and can contain many types of information. A comprehensive recovery plan will contain the following elements:

  • A plan to acquire hardware.

  • A communication plan.

  • A list of people to be contacted in the event of a disaster.

  • Instructions for contacting the people involved in the response to the disaster.

  • Information on who owns the administration of the plan.

  • A checklist of required tasks for each recovery scenario. To help you review how disaster recovery progressed, initial each task as it is completed, and indicate the time of completion.

Ensuring disaster readiness

To ensure that you are ready for disaster, Microsoft recommends that you periodically perform the following activities:

  • Test your backup and recovery procedures thoroughly before a real failure occurs. Proper testing is required to ensure that you have the required—and functioning—backups to recover from various failures, that your procedures are clearly defined and documented, and that they can be executed smoothly and quickly by any qualified operator.

  • Perform regular database, transaction log, and file system backups to minimize the amount of lost data. Microsoft recommends that you back up both system and user databases.

  • Maintain system logs in a secure fashion. Keep records of all service packs that have been installed, whether for Microsoft Windows, your database, or Microsoft Dynamics AX.

  • On another server or set of servers, try out the steps needed to recover from a disaster. As necessary, amend the step to suit the server environment, and test the amended steps.

  • Make sure that you understand and document the database and file access rights required to recover the database and application folder and to return it to a working production state.

  • Plan for the loss of your entire infrastructure, including each Microsoft Dynamics AX server component. Also consider the impact of losing the domain controller for your Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation.

  • Review related documentation, such as the Windows SharePoint Services Administration Guide, so that you are able to recover the other databases used in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics AX.

See Also