This topic describes determining requirements around infrastructure failure modes and recovery.

Before devising a strategy, you must first have a set of requirements to evaluate possible solutions. What failures are you trying to protect against, and what are your recovery goals in the event of failure?

Failure Points

Before devising a strategy, you must first have a set of requirements by which the resulting solution can be evaluated. What failures are you trying to protect against, and what are your recovery goals in the event of failure?

Physical Server Failure

The Delphix Engine runs within the VMware ESX hypervisor, which itself is running on a physical machine. Failure of that physical machine will affect the Delphix Engine, as well as any other virtual machines running on that server. The failure is isolated to that particular server, and is not the result of a larger, site-wide failure.

  • Recommendation: ESX Clustering

Storage Failure

The Delphix Engine uses LUNs from a storage array provided through the VMware hypervisor. The storage array may have redundant disks and/or controllers to protect against single points of failure within the array. However, the Delphix Engine can still be affected by a failure of the entire array, the SAN path between the Delphix Engine and the array, or by a failure of the LUNs in the array that are assigned to the Delphix Engine.

  • Recommendation: Replication

Site Failure

When an entire site or datacenter goes down, all servers, storage, and infrastructure are lost. This will affect not only the Delphix Engine, but any production databases and target servers in the datacenter.

  • Recommendation: Replication

Administrative Error

If an administrator mistakenly deletes a VDB or takes some other irreversible action, there is no method of recovery built into the Delphix Engine.

  • Recommendation: Snapshots

Recovery Objectives

Once infrastructure fails, some amount of work is required to restore the Delphix Engine to an operational state. Clients won’t have access to the Delphix Engine during this time, and the point to which the system is recovered is dependent on the mechanism being used. These qualitative aspects of recovery can be captured by the following metrics. As these metrics are often directly associated with cost, it is important to think not just about the desired metrics, but also the minimum viable goals.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

The RPO is the acceptable amount of data that can be lost in the event of a failure. For example, if backups are taken once a day, then at most 24 hours of data will be lost if the system fails immediately before a regularly scheduled backup.

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

The RTO is the time required to restore the system to an operational state after a failure. For example, a recovery may require restoring data from from a backup, followed by some number of manual steps to recreate the configuration in the new system. RTO is equivalent to the downtime experienced by clients.

Recovery Time Granularity (RTG)

The granularity of the recovery time is the specificity by which you can select a particular point in time from the past to restore the system. For example, VM snapshots taken every hour provide no way to restore to a point in time between those snapshots.