How can you prioritize various backup and disaster recovery (BDR) issues? Smart managed services providers (MSPs) focus on four potential scenarios. The idea is to understand each scenario and its correlation with time to recovery.

Strata Information Technology Inc. President Pete Robbins, a BDR specialist, uses these four scenarios to properly assess each situation:

  1. file and folder recovery;
  2. standby server;
  3. server rebuild; and
  4. server recovery.

Level One -- File and Folder Recovery

Recovering files and folders is the fatest type of recovery to execute. Within minutes, Robbins said, his BDR solution can mount a backup and restore lost data for customers.

Level Two -- Standby Server

Server failure normally takes a bit longer to troubleshoot than recovering simple files and folders, which is why Robbins taps standby server as a level two issue. In the event of server failure, Robbins can have his business virtualize a server again in minutes.

Level Three -- Server Rebuild

Sometimes an issue requires replacing parts, including CPUs, motherboards, and hard drives. If this is the case, Robbins classifies this as a level three issue. He then runs his customer's server off of a virtualized system until parts can be replaced. 

Level Four -- Server Recovery

Level four involves a major event --  such as a completely destroyed server. To handle this issue, Robbins sends a temporary server, along their data, until a replacement server can be purchased and deployed.

"Our company has luckily only had to deal with issues one through three," Robbins said.

Still, problems to pop up. One recent BDR issue for Robbins involved a server shutting down for no apparent reason.

"We decided to virtualize the server on the BDR for a week while we troubleshooted the issue," he said. "We ended up replacing all the hard drives, and restoring the server. All the while employees said their server had never run faster than when it was virtualized."

Sounds simple -- especially when you look at the issues in a well organized manner.