Virtual business
continuity and
disaster recovery
are must-haves

Author: Poornima Apte

No business can truly operate without IT applications and systems. Extreme weather, accidents or cyber attacks can also affect servers and, in the worst cases, can bring down entire companies. Too often, the requirements for high availability force companies to deploy spare physical assets that just lie fallow, tying up precious capital that might be used more profitably in other parts of the business.

Virtual business continuity, enabled by virtualized network infrastructure, provides greater flexibility, lower management costs and more high-availability options. As businesses move applications to the cloud, maintaining robust network connectivity is more important than ever. 

Optimize virtual business continuity and disaster recovery

Network virtualization combines hardware and software assets to create one unified software-driven virtual network. Some benefits of network virtualization are straightforward. It allows more applications to run in more geo-diverse locations, while optimizing the hardware usages, saving businesses money on hardware costs. The availability of both cloud and premises-based deployments can offer additional cost savings by allowing businesses to optimize their network to match where those applications are being consumed. This delivers a better user experience overall and less opportunities for outages as the applications are distributed over the WAN network. For example, if there is a degradation in one area of the network, the applications can be automatically and transparently delivered from another part of the network.

When deployed and maintained correctly a virtualized network can go a long way toward supporting business continuity. Other benefits of virtualization include:

  • Time to market: Pretested solution service chaining helps ensure virtual networks can get up and running quickly, without disruptions to business continuity.
  • Business agility: Virtual network functions can be quickly and easily scaled up or down to meet business needs.
  • Maximizing efficiency: Since computing-related infrastructure needs can be controlled through a virtual software layer, enterprises only need to buy new resources when absolutely necessary, saving money and administrative costs.
  • Vendor flexibility: A virtual network can allow businesses to connect with and manage multiple vendors and technologies in various types of network topologies.
  • Reduced burden on IT: Not only does IT have fewer physical assets spread out over many locations to manage, but they are also now able to centralize the process for better oversight into real-time capacity and usage.
  • Supporting future technology: Flexible, virtual services can be adjusted to application requirements, paving the way for innovations like 5G, edge computing (MEC), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Network virtualization and cloud applications

As part of ensuring virtual business continuity, network virtualization moves applications to the cloud and can help organizations use those applications more effectively. In a typical network, cloud apps are located in data centers—if one location fails, the application is still accessible from another. With a virtualized network, the entire process can happen seamlessly and with minimal disruption to the user—they might not even be aware that it's happening at all.

Business continuity and disaster recovery

One evergreen risk of running a traditional network is the physical vulnerability to disaster—particularly an event that cannot be predicted or prevented. Reasonable precautions for a traditional network would involve replicating data and applications at a secondary site to prevent losing them altogether if the application servers are damaged or destroyed at the primary location.

With a virtual network, business continuity and disaster recovery is a lower stakes scenario. Network virtualization helps companies get back on their feet quickly if servers or access to company computers are cut due to a power outage or natural disaster. It enables transport to leverage resources in another geography easier and faster.

Virtual network services (VNS) also allow businesses to spin up new services and capabilities in a customizable, plug-and-play fashion. A virtual network can offer the agility to support disaster recovery without the downtime that is so disruptive to business continuity. It can also scale resources up or down depending on specific infrastructure requirements to deliver business continuity and disaster recovery as needed.

Involve IT and data and security officers

Mapping a timeline for migrating assets to kick-start the virtualization process is just the first step in the planning process. WIth any type of IT migration project, it is important for all the stakeholders to be on the same page. Involving IT and data and security officers in decision-making will help the company make the most out of the virtualization process.

Virtual business continuity has its advantages but can also present (easily overcome) challenges. For one thing, since virtual assets are easier to create, employees might generate more than is necessary, leading to virtual machine sprawl. Managing such a vast arsenal of resources can become challenging in such cases. Keeping an eye on virtual assets and deleting them as needed can keep them in check. Having a virtualized network can help with asset management through a maintenance of a centralized repository of assets.

Rely on a strong virtualization partner

Network virtualization doesn't have to be hard—the right partner can offer an automated deployment process with centralized change and policy management, as well as automated self-healing protocols to minimize disruptions and ensure business continuity. Your organization will be provided with end-to-end application level visibility, and a simplified troubleshooting process which can help cut costs and prevent downtime.

And when it comes to keeping your network secure, you may also want to consider managed services:

  • Entry level monitoring and notification will provide alerts and isolate events to access, transport or CPE.
  • Co-management offers monitoring and notification while allowing you to retain control over network policies.
  • Full management relinquishes control of monitoring and remediation to your managed services provider.

Hosting physical servers onsite might on the surface seem like an attractive proposition for many companies, but it constrains asset management and could compromise business continuity by locating too many assets in too few locations. Virtualization helps ensure continued access to crucial data and can decrease downtime. It also helps businesses use IT resources more efficiently now and in the future.

Learn more about how Verizon’s virtual network services can help you better leverage your IT infrastructure assets.