Good timing on the article. Our company just completed our yearly DR practice test. It's not an exhaustive test, but we take some of the more critical systems and try to bring them up in a virtual network at our mirrored site (affectionately known as "the bubble").
As part of our DR strategy, we employ Sql Server Database mirroring. All web, app, and reporting servers are virtual and are replicated to our DR site.
To start the test, the network guys create the bubble and bring up domain controllers and other infrastructure needed to support the network.
Databases mirroring is broken. Mirrored Sql servers are brought into the bubble and renamed to match production server names.
Sql Server allows you to rename the server and instance easily with the sp_addserver, sp_dropserver commands. We then recover the mirrored dbs and have to setup
linked servers and verify all logins and users have the correct passwords and permissions. All of this is scripted prior to the mirror break to minimize our virtual downtime.
We hand over the environment to a small team of testers with test scripts and they go to work.
While we didn't plan perfectly, overall, the test was a success. We learn valuable lessons each time we run the test. Interestingly, many difficulties are due to the fact that we are simulating a disaster. But experiences tells us that in a real disaster there will be many other problems that we didn't forsee. This keeps us honest with ourselves that bringing up a production environment in a real disaster won't be as easy as it looks on paper.