Disaster Recovery Solutions: How to Handle “Recommendations” Versus “Requirements”

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Let’s say you experience an issue in your cloud cluster environment, and you have to contact one of your application vendors to get it resolved. They give you the resolution, but they note in their response that the way you have these systems configured is “not recommended”. How do you handle this information? After all, everything’s been working very well so far, and it could take a lot of time and resources to get them reconfigured in the “recommended” way. On the other hand, surely it’s recommended by the vendor for a reason, right? What if it causes other complications down the road? Let’s take a look at what exactly constitutes a recommendation, and ways that you can approach them from either side of acceptance.

DR Solution Recommended Configuration

You should start looking at how to handle a recommendation by taking it completely literally, defined as “a suggestion or proposal as to the best course of action”. Already we could see a couple of hints here as to how we can approach them with the words “suggestion” and “proposal” being used to identify it. Looking at it this way, it is easy to turn down a vendor recommendation because it is inconvenient, or perhaps it is deemed unnecessary. 

However, before taking any action on a recommendation, make sure to also take a more pragmatic look at it. After all, there is a reason that the vendor would suggest this particular kind of configuration. They are just as interested in your success as you are as part of an ongoing relationship, so surely it must carry some kind of positive benefit. It could be that without the recommended configuration, you are more susceptible to certain types of errors. It could also be a case of degraded performance, where everything is working fine but it could be working better or faster. Taking this into account, wouldn’t it be better to put in the time and effort to meet these recommendations now, as opposed to starting on it after you have been affected by the drawbacks of not following the recommendation?

How to Handle DR Solution Configurations Outside of the Recommendation

Now we can build our full perspective on recommendations by drawing together both ends of this discussion. The summarized version is: “It is okay to not follow vendor recommendations, as long as you are aware of why it is recommended and accept the potential drawbacks of doing so”. The crucial first step is always going to be simply talking to the vendor. Ask them questions about why they recommend it, the impact of having it versus not, if they have any methods or procedures to easily transition to a recommended environment, and anything else you can think of to help better inform yourself and your internal teams. Once you understand the impact, you are in the right position to refuse it if you have the proper justification. An example of a good justification for turning down a recommendation is for security purposes. Perhaps the recommended environment would turn off or circumvent certain security measures you have in place, so using that environment would not only make you more vulnerable, but it could also lead to violation of SLAs, partner agreements, or standards that you are bound to. In this case you can inform the vendor of why you are not following the recommended configuration. This can be very beneficial to the vendor as well, as they can take this feedback and in the future implement improvements that can allow for the recommended configuration and the security measures at the same time. As stated earlier, they are also invested in your success, so this is a win for everyone.

Disaster Recovery Solution Requirements

Sometimes, though, it’s not so easy to say “no” to what the vendor is telling you. This is where you cross the border from a vendor “recommendation” to a vendor “requirement”, and it becomes unavoidable. When it is presented to you as a requirement, it becomes something that you cannot just decline to follow. Still, as with recommendations, it is important to understand why it is a requirement, and what it is actually a requirement for. Certain practices can be required as part of a SLA you agreed on with the vendor, or a TSA for the products, applications, or services. In these cases it would indeed follow that the change needed to meet this requirement has to be made. Requirements also commonly fall in the more technical side of things. For example, specifications on disk size, I/O capacity, or available machine resources, just to name a few. These tend to be necessary for the application to work as intended, so the value in making sure these requirements are met is readily apparent.

Disaster Recovery Solution Flexibility

Just because you have to follow the requirement does not mean that you must simply resign yourself. There is still much value to be seen in understanding why that requirement is in place. As with a recommendation, talking to your vendor is vital. Perhaps a reason you do not like the requirement is rooted in a misunderstanding, and discussing the reasoning with your vendor can reveal that and clear away some apprehension. Again, your feedback on these requirements can be very important for your vendor to improve the products or services, and help them understand the value you see in being able to do something a different way. All it takes is just starting a dialog.

SIOS High Availability and Disaster Recovery

SIOS Technology Corporation provides high availability and Disaster Recovery products that protect & optimize IT infrastructures with cluster management for your most important applications. Contact us today for more information about our services and professional support.

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