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tips for choosing disaster recovery technologies for your organization

When organizations are assessing IT requirements for business continuity purposes, it is important that they understand the true deliverability of various solutions on the market, and the defining points that shape how they affect overarching IT operations. For example, traditional back-up technologies such as disk and tape are often seen as a viable way to satisfy the requirements of a business continuity plan. However, by relying on back-up solutions alone, enterprises risk facing extended periods of downtime if IT systems fail, as recovery times from disk and tape can be arduous and time consuming. Also, cloud back-up has some drawbacks that should be considered, particularly with regards to connectivity limitations. If a business attempted to recover a dataset of 2TB from scratch, the process could take a number of days and if this data is mission critical, the impact on the business could be huge.

Below, Bob Roudebush, VP Marketing at Neverfail provides some top tips and suggestions to help organizations understand the parameters and functions of disaster recovery technologies and their roles alongside other offerings in this space.

1) Break things down
Back-up is ideal for recovering individual files or pieces of data from previous points in time; this is very much a reactive process to data centre / center interruptions and cannot ensure the continuous availability of critical operations. High availability and automated disaster recovery solutions can be used alongside back-up to protect data in real-time and provide automated failover to secondary sites in the event of a problem at the primary data centre / center location, allowing operations to continue running and ensuring users to remain connected at all times.

2) Mix and match
I cannot stress how important it is to note that high availability and automated disaster recovery capabilities are not a replacement for backup and/or recovery technologies. These solutions are best coupled with back-up and recovery products to address very stringent recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) which are associated with business-critical applications, like Exchange and SQL.

3) It’s all about the apps
Back-up offerings are not able to provide acute application and environmental management as well as supply in-built automation capabilities. To protect critical applications, you must be able to monitor the availability, performance and health of those applications across heterogeneous environments. This is especially important for applications like SAP, JD Edwards, SharePoint and others which exist across multiple servers. Software which allows you to treat the entire business system as a whole while allowing you to manage, monitor and control the availability of the entire application is needed to add a layer of resiliency to tier one processes on an ongoing basis.

4) Virtually Sound
The uptake of virtualization is increasing, however not all organizations have migrated to VMs, or in any case, are not virtualizing 100 percent of their applications and still use physical servers to run legacy applications. It is therefore important that solutions are in place to cater for these differing environments, providing that added flexibility by working over a combination of physical and virtual hardware and across any number of different storage architectures. This ensures that companies do not have to invest in several protection strategies for different set-ups.

Business IT infrastructures are complex environments, with individual regulatory and compliance needs, application choices and scalability options at work. With this in mind, coupling high availability / disaster recovery solutions with a back-up option ensures critical data can also be protected across virtualized, physical and cloud-based set-ups, allowing organizations flexibility and choice as well as stability. This is essential for any growing organization wishing to prove robustness and guaranteed quality of service to its own customers.

•Date: 31st May 2011 • Region: World •Type: Article • Topic: ICT continuity

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