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Oracle Disaster Recovery lessons our customers taught us

You would think we would be ‘all over’ the different ways that our customers get the most out of our disaster recovery software. But the truth is there many variations that we had not even considered.

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Opinion pieces
Oracle DR lessons
By Kelly Burns
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November 1, 2019
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You would think we would be ‘all over’ the different ways that our customers get the most out of our disaster recovery software. But the truth is there are so many variations as to why, where and how our DR solution is used that there are still occasions where we become aware of new and innovative ways in which our products are put to use.

Whether these examples come across our Support Desk, or are brought to our attention through frequent trips to user conferences, such as OpenWorld, we can't get enough of these real world stories! Particularly when they demonstrate foresight and outside the box thinking, and this has definitely been the case with some examples we've encountered recently.

Whether you are a Standby user, or manage a standby environment that utilizes another solution, there are disaster recovery lessons to be learnt for everyone in the cases I'll recount today.

Lesson 1: You can't beat a pre-emptive strike 

With the terrifying might of Hurricane Sandy bearing down we supported several of our NY-based customers who went into preparatory mode, switching their production databases over to their remote disaster recovery sites. This type of planned switchover gave them one less thing to worry about during the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. The other big advantage here was that switching roles during a planned switchover meant that they experienced zero data loss. Had these customers not had the foresight to plan their switchover in advance they may have been forced to perform a failover, once the primary site was down, inevitably resulting in some minimal data loss.

Lesson learned: You don't have to wait until disaster strikes to put this lesson into play. Being prepared by having a plan and testing it regularly is disaster recovery 101, but it can't be emphasized enough. Thinking about and then formalizing how you would react in a disaster, or under threat of one, also counts as a pre-emptive strike.

Lesson 2: Standardize your systems for simplicity

Chances are that across your organization everyone is busier than ever, and forced to do more with less. This is even more acute in IT departments where teams are undergoing dramatic cuts, yet are expected to deliver more in terms of enabling the company to respond to and exploit technological advances. This very scenario has seen some of our customers that are running large databases, on a mixture of Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition, to switch from Data Guard in favor of Standby for their disaster recovery requirements. Remember that unlike Data Guard, Standby works across all Oracle editions, so the decision to standardize their disaster recovery using our software across all their databases was an easy one to make. In addition to this Standby is so simple to use that there are no training courses required prior to implementation, and the overall total cost of ownership is reduced by significantly lowered license costs, support fees and time commitment. You know your C-level guys are gonna love that!

Lesson learned: Think about where you might be using two or more software products to complete similar tasks? Is there a way to consolidate solutions in an effort to simplify your management of that task?

Lesson 3: Get creative to optimize performance

Our tag line is the 'smart alternative'. But we understand that if you are using Oracle Enterprise Edition you are likely going to run with Data Guard. It's a great product and comes ‘out of the box’ on Enterprise Edition. However, we have come across some very large customers who use Enterprise Edition and Data Guard for replication to their local standby database, but when it comes to replication to their remote database use Standby instead. The built-in compression and encryption of their data - default options with our application that typically result in compression ratios of around 70-80% - is an unbeatable feature when it is being transferred across some distance.

Lesson learned: What aspects of your current setup (any kind of setup by the way, not just your disaster recovery) are less than optimal? Think creatively about the alternatives that might be out there, rather than just falling back on the standard solution. Are you a Standby user? Do you have some creative ways you have put this product to use? We'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Kelly Burns
Kelly Burns


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