Server virtualisation and the cloud are
making the task of disaster recovery
protection considerably easier than
in the not-too-distant past and
removing excuses for not doing it.
DISASTER RECOVERY HAS assumed a heightened profile over
the past few years. So much so that looking back to only five
years ago seems like the Dark Ages from here. It was common
to come across many businesses without disaster recovery
plans or provision. I’m sure it still is, but with the mushrooming
of disaster recovery technology in the past few years, there’s
no excuse nowadays.
On the one hand, there have been strong push factors
impelling organisations towards effective disaster recovery
planning. This can take the form of legal and regulatory compliance.
Financial services players, for example, have prescribed levels
of disaster recovery in place. Regulations dictate the standard of disaster recovery expected, the minimum distance of secondary sites, etc.
Good business sense is also a driver. Again, in the financial
services sector, for example, the need for rapid fail-over to a
secondary site is not only driven by regulation but also by
the bottom line. In algorithmic trading, milliseconds are worth
millions every year, and the
financial services company
that doesn’t resume trading
again within seconds of an
outage will lose money hand
Damage to reputation and
future ability to trade are the
bottom lines that disaster
recovery must protect
against. There are chilling
statistics about the number
of businesses that never
recover from an IT disaster,
and those that do—but too
slowly—are likely to suffer a
hemorrhage of customers and a slower but inexorable death.
But enough of the doom and gloom. While there are compelling
push factors driving the need for a sound disaster recovery
strategy, the good news is that there are some very attractive pull factors that make disaster recovery potentially easier, less costly and less of a management headache than it has ever been.
First of these is server virtualisation. Once upon a time, an
effective disaster recovery strategy meant that your secondary
IT setup needed to be a carbon copy of your primary data centre. This was because applications—OS, updates, patches and all—were tied to one physical server. Server virtualisation broke this link. The hypervisor now sits between applications and the physical device, and where once apps and data could be restored only to identical servers, now bare-metal restore on any device is possible. In fact, mirroring in real time or near real time can enable fail-over to the secondary server estate in minutes or seconds. Now, it’s true that in even the organisations that are most advanced in IT terms, not all servers are virtualised. But the fact that many—probably a majority in most IT departments—are, will make disaster recovery an easier task, with only a few servers needing to remain entirely physical.
For many SMBs, however, chances are their entire server estate can be virtualised and disaster recovery made entirely independent of specific physical devices.The cloud takes that theme to further logical conclusions. The provision of compute and storage facilities remotely by a IT Services provider has been the buzz phrase in IT for the past couple of years. It’s potentially a game changer in many areas,not least of which is disaster recovery.
Cloud disaster recovery offers remote resources to which your replicate data; then, should an outage occur, your company’s employees can work from the cloud while your physical IT facilities are restored. It’s early days, but at some point—security and bandwidth permitting—this could be the standard by which all work. Having said all that, there is one area of disaster recovery that hasn’t necessarily gotten any easier. And that is the need to analyse risk, develop detailed plans, and test and train and continuously update them. We can help you will find pointers towards achieving these tasks.