Disaster Recovery (DR) has traditionally been a major challenge for IT departments. Even with the advent of server virtualization and other technologies that have simplified DR implementation and management, it is still a complex and often costly undertaking. Consequently, it becomes all the more challenging to determine which apps to spend money on for DR, especially when prioritizing those apps that are mission-critical but not high availability.
As is true in life, organizations simply don’t know what they don’t know. Many aspects of DR remain a mystery, impeding the way to a secure, bullet-proof insurance policy should something go wrong. This article will examine the myths and truths surrounding disaster recovery and how they play into the bigger picture.
Myth: Backup equals DR
Many organizations defer to backup and believe their data is protected when in fact, it is not. The notion of backup simply refers to copying files to tape or another disk, and storing it somewhere to be accessed eventually should the need arise. However, using a backup solution to meet business continuity (BC) needs will not work. Data backup, while necessary, is simply not a comprehensive information and application recovery solution. While it is generally inexpensive and convenient, it does not ensure quick recovery when a disaster occurs; it only ensures that the data is stored and can be retrieved – but not necessarily in a timely manner. With backup, a business will not be able to get back up and running without a delay of days, weeks, or sometimes even months after an outage as they try to piece together data and applications so operations can continue. In addition, backup offerings are often based on older technologies, hence their inexpensive price-tags.
Truth: While backup is better than nothing, true DR is a holistic approach to hazard mitigation. First, it involves technology that creates a complete replica of your infrastructure in a secondary location allows you to fail over your systems to that replica. Recovery time is measured in minutes or hours. Secondly, a true DR plan includes the mobilization of employees who are designated to help mitigate human resources issues as needed – especially in the case of a natural disaster. As you can see, backup is just a small piece of the puzzle; true disaster recovery is far more multifaceted and effective should disaster strike.
Myth: All DR is created equal
Even with the intricate technology that is available today, some organizations still wrestle with tape backups and call it DR. Others spend significant dollars on a small number of applications to deliver high availability while leaving the remaining applications under-protected.
Truth: For true BC/DR, organizations can unlock the power of the hyper-scale public cloud infrastructure (such as Amazon’s AWS), making it a natural extension of the primary data center.
Myth: DR is complex and expensive
Until now, enterprise DR involved secondary data centers, redundant storage and servers, complex networking and high costs. Redundant infrastructure is inherently expensive to design, provision, and manage whether delivered as an in-house DR solution or outsourced to a third party. While the public cloud offers a solid use-case for DR, complexity is its downfall.
DR need not be expensive, complex, or even slow to deploy. The public cloud enables enterprises and service providers to offer robust disaster recovery and business continuity that is simpler and far less expensive than traditional approaches available on the market today. The proper solution should allow users to customize protection and cost directly to the criticality of their applications and data.
Using cloud to implement DR allows:
- Normal operation without having to manage the complexities or costs of two disparate data centers;
- Automation without any noticeable disruption;
- Recovery of key applications, elimination of manual cloud provisioning;
- Effective hybrid cloud management – reducing the complexities of the public cloud and the expenses of traditional disaster recovery.
There are dozens of options to which CIOs and IT managers can defer, some involving more low-hanging choices that won’t necessarily solve any problems should the need arise. In order to truly ensure that your organization is protected from the unforeseen possibilities of a disaster, it’s necessary to spend the time – and take the steps – to ultimately safeguard your mission-critical data. Your IT department will sleep better at night knowing that in the wake of a disaster, business continuity, and ultimately your bottom line, will remain intact.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi