Minimal IT disruption at the heart of disaster recovery

Minimal IT disruption at the heart of disaster recovery

Jul 28, 2014


Modern organizations require business IT systems to be available 24/7, otherwise they risk losing crucial revenue streams and permanent damage to credibility.

This means businesses must not only have comprehensive disaster recovery capabilities, but also test them regularly to ensure they work when problems occur.

Despite this, the most recent Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark shows that 73 per cent of firms are failing to take the right steps to protect their systems.

Furthermore, 78 per cent of 1,000 businesses polled said they had experienced a systems outage affecting critical applications, resulting in financial losses of up to US$5 million.

Writing for Computerworld UK, Vice-President for North-West Europe at VEEAM Ian Wells said the testing phase is where many businesses fail, although real-time replication techniques can help.

"One of the key issues with disaster recovery in this modern IT environment is that ensuring the entire process will work correctly is a costly, time-consuming process," he explained.

"Disaster recovery teams must inspect disaster recovery locations to ensure that they can be brought online quickly and effectively, and that all IT services can be recovered."

In an ideal world, he claimed, businesses would perform frequent disaster recovery drills so that each department and individual knows their role in the event of a disaster.

However, time constraints and having to remove key personnel from important tasks makes these procedures rare.

Benefiting from real-time replication

Mr Wells cited Vanson Bourne research from 2013 that showed most businesses only test backups once every three months, with only 7.4 per cent checking all backups on each occasion.

This kind of approach simply won't work, he said, even if organizations made testing schedules more frequent. 

"Even if an organization had the resources to test disaster recovery every month, that is still far too long for data and applications that change on a 24/7 basis," he said.

According to Mr Wells, real-time replication helps to improve such processes by creating new environments where testing is carried out away from the main production database.

This guarantees minimal downtime and maintains high performance of the primary database, while still allowing organizations to adequately test disaster recovery procedures. 

"Regular testing of physical disaster recovery procedures, together with automated data protection testing will both reduce costs and ensure that, regardless of what might happen, the always-on, IT-centric modern business isn't crippled by disaster," he stated.

Mr Wells admitted that testing won't address all of the problems enterprises face when disaster strikes, but it does provide confidence that at least one part of the operation will continue to work in worst-case scenarios.

Real-time replication could also ease some of the time and cost pressures that essential testing processes can impose on modern companies.

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