The Importance of Establishing Application Groups For Your Disaster Recovery Strategy

The Zerto Virtual Replication Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) software platform offers an array of convenient integrated features, including the functionality of organizing servers into groups. Aside from the obvious benefit of grouping servers for aesthetic purposes, there are significant benefits to doing so properly. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the importance of establishing VPGs and how it can greatly impact the efficiency of your data replication.

What Is a Virtual Protected Group?

A Virtual Protected Group (VPG) is, put simply, a collection of Virtual Machines (VMs). There are a number of reasons why you would want VMs grouped together in a certain way, whether it’s to coordinate VMs that have a similar purpose, or perhaps they share interdependencies with each other. Moreover, VPGs can share settings across all of the VMs contained within, making managing and updating settings for large groups of VMs much simpler. On top of this, you need to consider the amount of bandwidth or input/output (I/O) each VM creates while operating normally. Virtual Protected Groups facilitate more efficient management of your disaster recovery environment.

Disaster Recovery

Why Should You Group VMs Together?

First and foremost, one of the main reasons you might want to group VMs together is when you have VMs that serve similar purposes or functions. For example, some servers could work together to provide domain controller services to your environment, or perhaps you want to replicate every employee’s personal workstation. Alternatively, some VMs may require a constant connection to another VM in order to function properly, such as web servers and their respective load balancers. Grouping up these VPGs by their purpose helps to organize them in the event of a disaster. Being able to identify which VMs are in which group at a glance can be invaluable, especially while under the stress of a major outage.

Quick, Easy Setting Application Across Your Grouped Servers

Another major benefit of organizing VMs by groups is the ability to apply settings to each of them quickly and easily. Let’s say you want to adjust the data retention policy across all of your VMs, with Zerto Disaster Recovery, you’ll have the ability to apply these changes to all of your Zerto-protected VMs at once.

Organizing VMs into the same group will also apply the same Service Level Agreement (SLA), meaning that all servers in that group will replicate at the same rate and share the same Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). Having a group of servers with a shared SLA keeps each VM in perfect sync with all other members of the group. Additionally, you can apply a single journal history that is enforced across all VMs. This means that each VM will have the same amount of data replicated—the amount of time the journal history specifies.

Virtual Protected Group As Applied to Individual VMs

Another useful feature of Zerto DR software is that it allows you to specify important information on a per-VM basis. In the event of a failover due to disaster, Zerto can enforce individual VMs to utilize specific IP addresses. This is ideal if you want to connect directly to the server post-failover instead of having to open a console. You can specify an IP address for each VM, and make the distinction between a failover IP and a test IP, meaning the same VM can utilize one IP for a test failover and another for a live failover.

Structuring Your Application Groups

Replication proceeds smoothly when the overall throughput (I/O) is balanced across VPGs. If a particular VPG has incredibly high throughput, it can cause the other servers to throttle. In Zerto’s settings, the VPG’s IOPS (inputs/outputs per second), throughput (measured in MBps), and overall WAN traffic (also measured in MBps) are displayed. This allows you to see which VPG is producing the most throughput and, in essence, which group of VMs are the most active. Providing this information allows you to be better informed about your replication and make adjustments accordingly.

As illustrated in this post, there are plenty of incentives for carefully planning out your replication environment. Whether it’s by throughput, functionality, or server interdependence, there are plenty of ways to organize your DRaaS solution. Following these guidelines will not only help keep your data flowing as efficiently as possible but will create a high-performance disaster recovery environment that’ll be easily accessible when you need it most.

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