Do you know how to restore each and every system in your environment from memory? Boot up Order, Server dependencies, Vendor Contact information and everything else you would need to Rebuild your IT infrastructure in a Disaster Recovery Scenario? If something were to happen to you, would your team be able to fill in all the blanks? Creating quality DR documentation is one of those things that is easy to overlook, but one of the most important things in any business. Now-a-Days, Data is priceless – and every moment the systems are down it will most likely end up costing the company shit-loads of money. Performing poorly in a DR Scenario due to poor documentation, testing, or planning could very easily cost you your job.
Unfortunately I can’t just hand you over my Companies Disaster Recovery Plan Binder, As it contains very detailed information about all of our systems and would be a huge threat to Security! I can however provide you with Some great resources, Templates and Ideas! If you have done a bit of research already trying to find a comprehensive DR Plan Template you probably have already discovered that there isn’t a really good free option available. So I decided that I would put together this List of Documents and Templates that I personally found very helpful in creating our own DR Documentation.
Disaster Recovery Plan Template Documents
An information technology (IT) disaster recovery (DR) plan provides a structured approach for responding to unplanned incidents that threaten an IT infrastructure, which includes hardware, software, networks, processes and people. Protecting your firm’s investment in its technology infrastructure, and protecting your firm’s ability to conduct business are the key reasons for implementing an IT disaster recovery plan.
I’ve done my fair share of searching for a good DR Plan Template, and this is by far the best one that I’ve come across.
Obviously these Guides will vary with your backup system, I’ve linked a Previous post of mine that outlines the basic Restore processes in great detail – so that if I were incapacitated in anyway during a DR Scenario, my colleagues wouldn’t be dead in the water without me. When I started creating my own guides – I actually went through the restore process as I documented it. You never know what kind of surprises to expect during a mock restore, and you certainly don’t want your guesswork to lead to surprises during a critical Server restore!
I was able to re-purpose my Nagvis Server Rack Background in our Disaster Recovery Plan for detailing the physical location of each server in our environment. While the same thing can be accomplished in a simple Excel document – I encourage you to improve your own documentation whenever possible. For anyone interested – The linked document was created in Microsoft Visio, using the extensive library of free stencils @ VisioCafe.com
Fairly straightforward Here. Documenting your Backup procedures will allow you to accomplish 2 very important things.
- It will afford you the chance to go through each Server, DB, VM, etc. to make sure that everything is indeed being backup up and is being backed up properly.
- You will almost certainly uncover a few things that may have been missed by going through this process – and It may very well save your ass one Day!
Your IP Spreadsheet should House the IP Address of each piece of equipment in your environment. Beyond that however, as you can see in my example – We also list as much other helpful information into this spreadsheet as possible.
- Server Model
- Express Service Tag
- Server Function
- Support Expiration
- Responsible Parties
- OS Version
Your Template doesn’t have to be fancy – But it should be able to clearly define the following:
- Server/Application Dependency
- Restore Priority
Every time you run a Mock Restore, or test a DR Scenario – It should be logged!
While this is somewhat present in the DR Plan Template listed above, you will want to make sure that you have the full list of Vendor Contact Information should your Document Management System be out of commission!
The resources listed here should be treated as merely an outline for your documentation, not a definitive list. If you feel there is something missing from the list, I encourage you to share in the comments below 😀