Disaster Recovery in a Virtual World

Now More than Ever, Failure Isn’t an Option

Kurt Hildebrand
Data Center

Business is in the process of going digital, and while that has profound implications for the entire organization – technology, processes and people – it is particularly relevant to data protection and disaster recovery. Most data protection and data recovery (DP/DR) tools currently in use were created before optimization for virtualized server environments, integration with new storage technologies and cloud services were widely considered, according to IDC.

And because backup is seen as a cost and an insurance policy, rather than as a business enabler, many organizations have under-invested in it for many years, which will impair IT managers’ ability to meet availability requirements for data and applications.

The cost of failure is expensive. IDC research shows that a medium-sized organization experiences, on average, 15–18 business hours of network, system, or application downtime per year, with each hour of downtime costing approximately $225,000. The result of going digital means businesses cannot tolerate the same levels of planned and unplanned downtime that they could before. In fact, for many businesses, “the window for downtime is close to zero.” In another survey, many organizations (39%) said they now need to restore critical workloads in minutes, not hours, and that meeting this requirement is virtually impossible with outdated data protection methods.

The DR numbers are even more alarming:

  • 33% of organizations have not tested their disaster recovery plan in over 12 months; and,
  • 20% of organizations have never tested their disaster recovery plan or even have one.

Here are some best practices from IDC to ensure that data and applications are available where and when they’re needed:

  • Focus on recovery time: Successful businesses ensure that they can recover in minutes, not hours. Testing backups continuously to determine whether they were successful and that any data loss can be recovered is a prerequisite for fast recovery speeds.
  • Virtual first: Data protection solutions should be designed and optimized for virtual environments, and should be able to handle heterogeneous virtual environments.
  • Automate: Automation covers several aspects: automated testing of backups, automated restore processes, and automated monitoring of backup infrastructure to ensure optimal operation.
  • Modernize: Backup infrastructure must be modernized to provide more value from stored data back to the business; improve performance through better recovery time and recovery point objectives, RTPOs, storage management, and de-duplication; and help IT to adhere to SLAs.
  • Achieve visibility: 24×7 real-time monitoring and alerting capabilities will allow organizations to identify performance and backup issues across their full virtual and cloud infrastructure and resolve them before they become an operational problem, ensuring the continuous availability of datacenter services.
  • Optimize use of cloud services: When considering cloud as part of a backup and disaster recovery process, it is important to find a solution that offers integration with a wide range of cloud service providers, so that the organization can choose whichever provider, local or regional, meets its requirements for data location, service levels, and cost structure.

In today’s increasingly digital economy, 24x7x365 data and system availability are becoming more critical. Prevention is more reliable than reaction and we can help. Our team has built BC/DR solutions for organizations of all sizes and offer on-premises or cloud-based options – inclusive of backup, disaster recovery, replication, and failover. When failure is not an option, a robust and reliable business continuity/disaster recovery capability is an absolute priority.