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DR: Almost Impossible to do without Automation

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If it seems like the blog posts at peak10.com often focus on disaster recovery (DR) planning, there’s a reason for it.  This is important stuff.  All too frequently we read news stories about natural and manmade disasters wreaking havoc, costing companies millions in downtime, lost revenue, lost customer confidence and more. But just backing up data isn’t sufficient.

In a survey conducted by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council (DRP), 72 percent of the organizations surveyed gave their DR capabilities a D or an F. More than a third of the respondents reported losing critical data, apps or virtual machines (VMs) for more than an hour.

It’s not that IT staffs aren’t doing their jobs.  However, the complexity of their jobs does comes into play — including the demand for 24/7/365 availability of data and applications.  DR is just one of their many responsibilities and when it involves manual processes, it can be a time-consuming, multi-faceted task.

Any time systems go down, the IT staff must go through numerous complicated manual processes to reboot servers, applications and infrastructure. If an error occurs at any time during the process, the complete recovery can take even longer.  When the downtime is precipitated by a significant event such as a weather-related disaster or cyber-attack, the processes required for getting things back up and running — not to mention all the logistics involved — can get even more complicated.

One solution is the use of DR automation. As the name implies, every step of the entire recovery process is automated, restoring IT services and recovering data within minutes instead of hours or days. Among the benefits is that it enables recovery of complete IT services at once. With a simple mouse click, IT staff can initiate a carefully designed and tested automatic DR process.

The most effective DR automation solutions return systems to the original point of failure, recovering all the data at once. Some include continuous data protection and snapshot technology to enable full recovery. Continuous data protection technologies allow companies to take snapshots of data within the data center, backup this data more often and replicate it to an offsite data center, reducing data loss to next to nothing.

Still, some IT professionals are concerned about relinquishing the hands-on responsibility for such a critical function as DR. There are those that believe automated DR solutions can’t handle the different kinds of hardware or physical and virtual servers used by most data centers today. In reality, there are automated DR solutions that can failover and failback between dissimilar hardware as well as from physical-to-virtual, virtual-to-virtual, or virtual-to-physical systems, allowing for quick recovery in any environment.

There is also concern that DR automation requires multiple sources for data recovery. However, automated DR technologies that are integrated with disk-based continuous data protection and snapshot technology will allow companies to fully recover in a single, complete process.

Whether you have a DR plan in place or are in the initial stages of developing one, it can be worth your time — and your organization’s future   — to investigate the automation solutions out there.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest