Testing objectives for data center

Posted on: November 11, 2011

Testing objectives for data center

  • Ensure the accuracy, completeness, and validity of recovery procedures
  • Verify the capabilities of the personnel executing the recovery procedures
  • Validate the information stored in the disaster recovery plan
  • Verify that the time estimates for recovery are realistic
  • Ensure that all changes in the computing environment are reflected in the disaster recovery plan
  • Familiarize IT personnel with the disaster recovery plan and its procedures
  • Verify that outside agencies, such as backup data centers, perform adequately
  • Discover business conditions that require changes to the plan

Active Testing

Active testing requires that the procedures under review be executed exactly as written. You should test the procedure for declaring a disaster with your hot-site vendor, test the ability of your off-site tape storage provider to deliver to the hot site in a timely manner, and test your method for restoring your systems. Each step must be executed completely and the data tested thoroughly by end-user departments to validate recovery. A wide variety of active tests should be performed, including:

  • a full technical test of restoration of production application systems on the iSeries and other mission critical hardware
  • a technical test of LAN and WAN, including any existing WAN failover mechanisms
  • a test of the high availability solution that switches your users to the alternate facility, then checks the validity of the data

Testing planning

  • At least 60 days in advance, schedule the test with your hot-site provider. Notify plan participants of your selected date and time.
  • Meet with your IT recovery team to establish test objectives 30 days before the test date. This will determine the participants’ requirements for the test and let you develop a suitable test schedule.
  • One week before the test, publish the test plan to participants and confirm your test date.
  • Initiate the transfer of tapes from the off-site tape storage office to the recovery services facility.

Role of the plan manager

  • ensure that each objective is fully realized
  • ensure that each test participant follows the procedures from the DRP as precisely as possible
  • document changes necessary to make the DRP procedures work
  • record problems and their resolutions as they arise
  • record the duration of each procedure
  • summarize all the changes to the DRP

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