How to Build a Highly Effective and Cost-Efficient Disaster Recovery Plan

July 15th, 2013 by TCC Leave a reply »

Small and midsize businesses have an opportunity to significantly improve their disaster recovery plans at a cost-efficient price point through a combination of virtualization and advances in storage technologies. Even organizations that have infrastructures with 10 or fewer physical servers can save money and increase protection by implementing an end-to-end approach to disaster recovery, delivering better protection, faster recovery times, reduced downtime costs and improved business availability and continuity.

It’s an opportunity that should not be ignored. All businesses these days are more dependent than ever on the availability of their IT infrastructures to deliver products and services to customers. We are in an era of 24/7 global operations, and any downtime can be costly. Significant downtime can be downright crippling: According to one study, 43% of companies that suffered a “major loss” of data went out of business immediately, while another 51% had to permanently shut down within two years.
Furthermore, a recent  study showed that the cost of data center downtime now averages $5,600 for every minute that the IT infrastructure is not available.Only 6 percent of companies survive longer than two years after losing data. Unfortunately, too many businesses are not getting the message.
Approximately one-third of companies surveyed  said they had no disaster recovery plan in place, and 10% said they didn’t even have plans to develop one.  The most common reasons cited by the companies were disaster recovery plans are too complex, are not being pushed by top management or are just too expensive. However,virtualization and network storage technologies have changed the game for disaster recovery, making today’s solutions less complex and less expensive to deploy. Given these technology advances, combined with the risks of downtime and lost data, there should no longer be any excuses for businesses of any size to not deploy an adequate disaster recovery plan. For SMBs, it shouldn’t be a question of why a disaster recovery plan is needed, but how to put an effective disaster recovery plan in place. This article will focus on some of the fundamentals you need to build and sustain a cost-efficient disaster recovery plan for your small or midsize business.

Building blocks for disaster recovery

One of the keys to building a successful disaster recovery solution is to identify the requirements of your business for recovery. What would be the cost impact if certain applications were unavailable for a specific period of time? What are your recovery point objectives (RPO) and your recovery time objectives (RTO)? Do these vary from application to application? When you examine your goals, you are likely to find that traditional methods of disaster recovery are no longer cost efficient for SMBs. The idea of creating a separate mirrored data center is cost prohibitive and unnecessary. In today’s environment, the most effective disaster recovery solutions are built on a foundation of key technologies: virtualization and networked storage.

Virtualization has truly changed the paradigm for disaster recovery. In traditional non-virtualized environments, organizations have to set up a mirrored infrastructure. This means spending money to buy, deploy, manage and support a duplicated data center, with a duplicated server infrastructure and a duplicated network environment. In addition, the IT department must establish and oversee the processes and procedures for restarting servers and operating systems, re-launching applications and getting users back up and running all while deploy- n resources to determine the impact of the disaster and how much and which data was lost. In a virtualized environment, you no longer need duplicate mirrored systems. By separating the hardware from the underlying software, youare able to create an image of your product- tin virtual machine and replicate that on a second virtual machine, which can be located anywhere. You no longer need to invest nearly the same amount in additional equipment facilities, power, cooling and management. For many organizations, best practices still dictate the need for a separate disaster recovery site, but the costs involved in creating and managing that site in a virtualized environment are far lower than they are in a traditional environment.

Network storage is another building block that is changing the face of disaster recovery. Major technology advances such as automated tiering; storage virtualization, snapshotting, compression and reduplication have significantly simplified disaster recovery processes, while introducing major cost
efficiencies in backup, replication and recovery. With networked technology solutions, your entire storage infrastructure can be far more effective in addressing backup and recovery challenges, particularly in today’s environment, where storage volumes are growing dramatically. Integrated reduplication reduces the amount of files you have to save and creates a single, current version of each
file. Automated tiring moves data to appropriate storage devices throughout its lifetime, enabling your organization to extend the lifecycle of older devices so that they can be used at a failover site for disaster recovery purposes. Storage virtualization allows you to centralize management of your entire
storage infrastructure so that is appears as a single device. Snapshotting can dramatically improve RPO and RTO by enabling you to accurately pinpoint when your systems went down and where to begin the recovery process.

Building a cost-efficient disaster recovery solution putting n place the essential building blocks of virtualization and network storage backup will put you on the path toward a successful disaster recovery solution. But he ultimate success of your plan will be contingent on choosing the right platforms, tools and partners. You want to make sure that your storage and virtualization solutions give you the ability to manage your disaster recovery environment from a central location so that you can speed all of your processes, from deployment and provisioning through monitoring, testing and validation. You also want to make sure your storage and virtualization vendors are closely aligned
with integrated solutions that have been designed to work together to enable efficiencies in managing your policies and processes. Here are some of the key considerations in building a cost-efficient disaster recovery solution on a oundation of virtualization and network storage:

Centralized management: In the event of a disaster, you want to be able to manage your recovery operations from a single console so you can coordinate activities more quickly and efficiently. This will result in significant cost savings, not only when a disaster occurs, but also in the ongoing processes of provisioning, monitoring, testing and validation.

Increased automation: The ability to automate key functions of disaster recovery is a major advantage of a virtualized environment. With the proper platform in place, you should be able to automate the entire recovery and migration process, including failover and site migrations, leading to far faster recovery and much ess chance of human error. Automation will also help you simplify testing of recovery plans, which is often an import- tent requirement for compliance purposes.

Updated storage technologies: Automation is a major factor in reducing risk of failure in your storage environment. Automated snapshots can capture data at any given point in time, and your organization has the ability to determine how often those snapshots should take place, depending upon defined factors based on how much risk you are willing to take. Storage-based replication enables you to improve performance at lower costs. Features such as automated tiring and automated reduplication will make your entire storage infrastructure more efficient by reducing the amount of data you are storing and ensuring that where you are storing your data is appropriate to its age and value to your organization.

The time has come for SMBs to get serious about disaster recovery. The threats are increasing, and the impact of a disaster can be devastating. What’s more, through virtualization, advanced storage technologies and disk-based backup, the costs and complexities involved in disaster recovery are much more manageable than ever before.

Need more information to create a Disaster Recovery plan for your compnay, contact The Computer Company 800 418 2358




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