Recovery Plan – Exchange

When I am doing BCDR work, I like to build a recovery plan.  This is info for a specific app that I get from an Application Catalog, or a Business Impact Assessment (BIA) and it is the specific details I need to do my actual BCDR tool recovery plan – such as Veeam Availability Orchestrator (VAO).  Here is a sample in case it helps you out.

Sample Recovery Plan – Exchange

Goal: Successfully test Exchange

Defined:

  1. Send and receive emails using users / groups.
  2. Book meeting with user / group / room

Required: The various things that would be needed, as part of this test:

  1. Address information such as users and groups
  2. Credentials to access email, and it would need to be current credential information.
  3. Domain controller – to provide access to the credentials and allow Exchange to start.
  4. Desktop with Outlook
  5. Security servers – such as anti-spam.
  6. Name / email / phone of the key Exchange architects and support people.

Note: Make sure to understand what exactly is required.  Need to understand upstream and downstream requirements.

Setup: How will we set this up?

  1. Domain controller will need to be available – via a Lab Group normally.
  2. Desktop will need to be available – inside the test!
  3. Exchange will need to be part of the test. Do all of the Exchange resources need to be part of the test?  Normally yes so that the test is representative of what a failed over environment would look like.
  4. Networking – if all of the assets are inside the Virtual Lab and test you are good. But sometimes there might be outside resources – like anti – spam appliances that are physical. If they don’t have virtual editions that can be in the test they need to be on an isolated and non-routing private VLAN that can be pulled into the test.

Test: This is the test plan itself, so after the recovery plan has been executed successfully in an automated way, and we follow that up with a manual test we would use the following information.  A form that is signed after the test is best.  Some customers will not need a test form to sign but can sign the test history form.

  1. Exchange Test Plan Name: ______________________ Date: ________ Pass / Fail: ________
    1. Login with your normal account?
    2. Start Outlook Client with no errors?
    3. Access your mailbox via OWA with no errors?
    4. Address message successfully to:
      1. Partner in test
      2. Strangers not in your test or in your cache!
    5. Book meeting successfully with your partner?
    6. Look up phone number for someone?
    7. And so on

Build Plan – Infrastructure: this is the information to build out the plan and the infrastructure of it.

  1. Isolated VLAN – this is what will be used – if necessary – to pull resources into the test. Wiring, virtual switches etc. But remember, nothing in the test should be able to get out.
  2. Domain controller – in a lab group for example
  3. Desktops – in the plan or maybe a lab group?
  4. Exchange servers – there is often more of them then expected! All need to be replicated.
  5. Replication healthy?
  6. I suggest having a detailed todo list on this and make sure it is done smoothly.

Build Plan – VAO: this is where we use the previous information to build out the recovery.  Watch out for the order of operation and use all the test steps applicable.

Approval Section – when this test plan is a written document it should have a number of names on it – some for approval, but some for simple communications.  This document, when created and approved would be very handy to have in the recovery site.

  1. The approval would come from the application owner.
  2. Some other information would include:
    1. Network contact
    2. Virtualization / server / operations contact
    3. DR Team contact
    4. Application owner test representative contact

I hope that this helps?  It is for Exchange but it could be used for other software using the same outline.

Michael

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