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The Disaster Recovery Run Book

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

Remember your business is always changing, and thousands of transactions are changed, added or deleted each day.

We have previously discussed general disaster recovery planning and now I’d like to take you to the next level of detail and discuss the content required for a DR Run Book. This is a high level look at the Run Book which needs to be customised for the needs of your company.

Once your DR solution is in place, the best mechanism to capture and continuously monitor the required activities is in a Run Book. Remember your business is always changing, and thousands of transactions are changed, added or deleted each day, so your Run Book should list all items to be considered in order to meet the recovery demands of your company’s infrastructure and applications to ensure business continuity is maintained.

Depending on your chosen DR solution you will have the following to consider and capture in the DR Run Book:

Strategies to define; Backups to maintain; Tapes to manage; Recovery networks to manage; HA/DR software to monitor and manage; Procedures to update; Staff resources to train and ensure are always ready to deal with a disaster; Vendors to manage ensuring the solution is always in line with your organization’s needs; Testing processes to be defined and implemented.

The DR Run Book has 4 primary functions:

  1. It should describe in detail your DR solution, including the scope, objectives and delivery of the architected solution. All assumptions and deliverable milestones need to be clearly outlined in the mission statement. Where applicable, the procedures and schedules specified in this Run Book will detail efficient operation of the DR processes and tools to maximize availability in your environment.

  2. It must provide detailed procedures for executing the failover process of the architected solution. Dependencies, application and network interfaces and start-up processes should all be clearly outlined to ensure application integrity. This Run Book includes detailed operational, audit, failover, and troubleshooting procedures. These are customized to the specifications of your DR solution.

  3. The Run Book should contain reference information to assist in invoking, testing and maintaining the solution. This includes the management, monitoring, licensing and backup of the architected DR solution.

  4. It will provide a detailed list of people critical to the process and their contact information, vendors and their contact information, license codes, access details for the data centre, backup tape retrieval details and any other pertinent inventory type information.

A successful DR Run Book will include Detailed information about:

  • The DR Solution overview and configuration

  • Data centre systems and server infrastructure architecture details

  • Service level Agreements

  • Roles and responsibilities, contacts and authorisations

  • 3rd party vendor responsibilities

  • RTO (Recovery Time Objective) per application

  • RPO (Recovery Point Objective) per application

  • Application overview and start up sequence

  • Network topology and DR Configuration and start up procedures

  • DR Invocation / Failover procedures

  • Recovered system testing procedures

  • Any specific DR licensing requirements

  • Bringing the recovered services online

  • Return to Production recovery procedures.

If you want to read other blogs on the related topics, click here.


Matthew has global responsibility for implementing and managing Maxava’s Cloud strategies and supporting partners in the delivery of Maxava Cloud Services. Matthew has spent many years working with the IBM i platform and its predecessors, and has extensive experience in the management of multi technology infrastructure operations. He is also known for his expertise in Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity planning, Systems Operations, Outsourced Data Centre management and Cloud Computing Architectures. Matthew is based in London, UK, and is involved in the IBM i user community.


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