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Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery

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Published by: gabrielmgm on Sep 29, 2008
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DISASTER RECOVERY
Disaster recovery
is the process, policies and procedures of restoring operations criticalto the resumption of business, including regaining access to data (records, hardware,software, etc.), communications (incoming, outgoing, toll-free, fax, etc.), workspace, andother business processes after a naturalor human-induced disaster . To increase the opportunity for a successful recovery of valuable records, a well-established and thoroughly tested disaster recovery plan must be developed. This task requires the cooperation of a well-organized committee led by an experiencedchairperson.
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) should also include plans for coping with the unexpectedor sudden loss of communications and/or key personnel, although these are not coveredin this article, the focus of which is data protection. Disaster recovery planning is part of a larger process known as business continuity planning(BCP).
Introduction
As the disaster recovery market continues to undergo significant structural changes, theshift presents opportunities for companies that specialize in business continuity planningand offsite data protection. With the rise of information technology and the reliance on business-critical informationthe importance of protecting irreplaceable data has become a business priority in recentyears. This is especially evident ininformation technology, with most companies relyingon their computer systems as critical infrastructure in their business. As a result, mostcompanies are aware that they need to backup their digital information to limit data lossand to aiddata recovery.Most large companies spend between 2% and 4% of their IT budget on disaster recovery planning; this is intended to avoid larger losses. Of companies that had a major loss of computerized data, 43% never reopen, 51% close within two years, and only 6% willsurvive long-term.
[edit] Disaster Recovery Strategies
Prior to selecting a Disaster Recovery strategy, the Disaster Recovery planner shouldrefer to their organization's business continuity plan which should indicate the keymetrics of Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) for various business processes (such as the process to run payroll, generate an order, etc).The metrics specified for the business processes must then be mapped to the underlyingIT systems and infrastructure that support those processes.Pag. 1/
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Once the RTO and RPO metrics have been mapped to IT infrastructure, the DR planner can determine the most suitable recovery strategy for each system. An important notehere however is that the business ultimately sets the IT budget and therefore the RTO andRPO metrics need to fit with the available budget. While most business unit heads wouldlike zero data loss and zero time loss, the cost associated with that level of protection maymake the desired high availability solutions impractical.The following is a list of the most common strategies for data protection.
Backups made to tape and sent off-site at regular intervals (preferably daily)
Backups made to disk on-site and automatically copied to off-site disk, or madedirectly to off-site disk 
Replication of data to an off-site location, which overcomes the need to restorethe data (only the systems then need to be restored or synced). This generallymakes use of Storage Area Network (SAN) technology
High availability systems which keep both the data and system replicated off-site,enabling continuous access to systems and dataIn many cases, an organization may elect to use an outsourced disaster recovery provider to provide a stand-by site and systems rather than using their own remote facilities.In addition to preparing for the need to recover systems, organizations must alsoimplement precautionary measures with an objective of preventing a disaster situation inthe first place. These may include some of the following:
Local mirrors of systems and/or data and use of disk protection technology suchas RAID
Surge Protectors — to minimize the effect of power surges on delicate electronicequipment
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and/or Backup Generator to keep systemsgoing in the event of a power failure
Fire Preventions — more alarms, accessible fire extinguishers
Anti-virus software and other security measures
Affording Disaster Recovery
 
March 24, 2005: Disaster recovery solutions don't come cheap but, with alittle planning and foresight, DR doesn't have to be an all or nothingproposition.
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How would you like to have your data center situated in a basement one floor belowsix hot tubs, each containing 1,000 gallons of water? And to make matters worse,you don't have any fail-over site in the event of a disaster?That is the situation facing Jeffrey Pelot, CTO at Denver Health and Medical Center."An actual failure at our main site served to highlight the problems inherent in havingno disaster recovery infrastructure," said Pelot.The hospital is now planning to add a nearby disaster recovery (DR) facility so that itcan duplicate its various configurations at another completely separate campuslocation.It will utilize snapshot, remote IP copy and replication technologies to accomplishthis. But all that takes money and the hospital doesn't have enough in the 2005budget to cover it."We've had to push our DR spending plans into 2006," said Pelot.
Finding a Way
 So how do you afford expensive DR projects in the face of tight budgets and a dozenother vital projects vying for priority? One way to cut costs is by prioritization of thedata that needs to be fully protected.Chip Nickolett, a DR specialist from Comprehensive Solutions, a DR consultancy,suggests evaluating systems, data, infrastructure and business operations in termsof categories of DR protection based on specific business requirements.For example, Tier 1 might be "recover within 24 hours", Tier 2 might be "recoverwithin 72 hours", and Tier 3 might be "recover within 10 business days.""It's all a question of how much data can be lost from the point of the disaster goingbackwards," said Nickolett.Take the case of The Members Group, an Iowa-based company that provides cardprocessing and mortgage services for credit unions. The company is implementing anIP SAN by StoneFly Networks for its DR set up.It has a primary site in Des Moines, Iowa and replicates its data to another site inMinneapolis. As it didn't have the money to build its own redundant data center, itkept costs down by renting space for its hardware at a network services provider.According to Jeff Russell, Members Group CIO, this proved to be the make/breakpoint of being able to implement its DR technology."Having our systems hosted remotely saves us about one third of the total costs of implementing a DR solution," said Russell. "Renting made the project possible."
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