One of the key points that I like to raise when I deliver my session about what the best Disaster Recovery solution, is making sure that you pay extra attention to not over designing a solution, and I think this is a great example of why… I was talking with a client today about a disaster recovery solution; the client had requested t-log shipping for their environment. I could not help but think about all the newer wiz bang solutions that I could provide them, and I was really excited to share all these options with them. All of these solutions I was ready to talk about with them could really enhance a disaster recovery plan, or so I thought.
During my visit with the client, I learned the client has 2 data centers; one is on the East coast and one on the West. The link between the two centers is pretty good, but not always the best. The client is a growing company that would take a big hit if their database was down for a few hours. The cost of an Enterprise deployment of SQL Server would be a challenge for them in addition to what sounds like a limitation of the hosting company to support Enterprise features (I am not sure about this aspect, but I am doing some more research).
As with most databases that are important and require a DR solution, the thought of losing any data is enough to make an executive sick to their stomach. However in this case, the cost/benefit ratio or what I refer to as the sweet spot would allow for some data loss and some time to recover. Transaction Log shipping is going to meet all the requirements that they have, and can be done with no additional costs. They are aware of the benefits of other solutions so as they grow, they know the options to shorten downtime, or decrease the risk of data loss.
End result; take time to discuss with the owner of projects about what the expectations or requirements are, and then what the real expectations are in comparison to the cost of implementation. There are some cases where a solution that is all shiny will work, but may not be the right choice. As a consultant I need to make sure that I am on the client’s side, I need to understand the box they are working in, and what is going to be the best option. Present the options and the reasons for the solutions and the reasons why they may want to steer clear of a solution.
In summary, don’t just try to implement the newest feature in the newest version. If there is a case for it, then more power to you. Put the right solution in place.