Make a Disaster Recovery plan that matters – ExtremeCompute

Businesses are becoming more yielding and sensitive to emerging technologies in the web, social and IoT area. Nevertheless, the threat of a catastrophe happening increases in our insatiable desire to remain resilient and available.

The key question here is how long can you tolerate the downtime and unavailability of services as a business? Research and surveys show that, in different businesses, after a disaster, companies become defunct over time. Approximately 43 percent of organizations succeed in the disaster and never resume operations. Another staggering 51% of businesses close in two years after the catastrophe triggered IT and infrastructure damage. Only 6 percent of companies survive the catastrophic circumstances and lead a positive long-term recovery.

Isn’t the solution an Enterprise Disaster Recovery (DR)?
Yes, Recovery will, however, ensure that all business critical information and the IT infrastructure of the organization are secured from outages and downtime, and the business can continue to operate without a hiccup. With a disaster recovery plan, this concern about downtime and outages can be mitigated. The way a disaster recovery plan normally works is to use a failed evidence approach with a specific recovery time target and recovery point goal, keeping to the tolerance limits for data loss and time before the company resumes.

How do we draw up an effective strategy for DR?
New technologies have made it possible for most organizations to part with traditional, tedious and costly physical tape-based recovery practices. Not only was this approach inefficient, but it also had little ability to grow, required constant restore testing and often resulted in potential media problems.

Many companies choose a second data center that is a duplicate of their IT environment. As it suggests, investing in mirrored equipment is costly, which is sometimes underused with the primary equipment respectively. In addition, if there are configuration discrepancies between the primary and secondary centers (which in itself is a challenging maintenance task), it may be difficult to achieve a successful failover. Recovery testing of such a system is complicated and may interfere with the operation of normal business operations at times. If the failover is ineffective, a lot of resources are needed to restore services.

Organizations are adopting cloud-based recovery strategies with the introduction of cloud services.

It allows a company to restore their data quickly while preserving the protection and reliability of the data backed up and not having to be continually interrupted by the monitoring, location or infrastructure of their recovery system. An important point to note about cloud DR is that the production environment of the organization is not a replication or live spin-up. It essentially uses cloud computing infrastructure to backup and store business data, application snapshots and system images. These maintained copies of the company’s facets are easily recovered on virtual or physical servers in the event of a disaster. This does, however, involve certain concerns for companies that incorporate disaster recovery services based on the cloud. We need to ensure that the data is tracked and secured during the movement while the data is being continuously transferred. All clients who manage the information must also be properly authenticated.

The Disaster Recovery as a Service (or DRaaS) comes with a subtle difference to the cloud-based DR process. The need for tapes, redundant facilities, a second data center or cloud-based backups is removed.

What is DRaaS, and is this the best option for DR?
DRaaS requires the setting up of a warm or hot live disaster recovery site, a complete reproduction of the production environment of the organization. This can be achieved on a public cloud or on a VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) or in a hybrid environment, which is the organization’s option.

The DR site is usually managed through an internet web portal and allows the business production environment to be set up and run directly. The model that ensures continuity of service is a CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) technology incorporated with virtual machine servers that are configured to kick off immediately when the main business servers go down. In the event of a disaster or a service interruption on the primary site of the company, business-critical services continue to operate through the cloud of the provider. And all this comes without any expensive hardware or torturous services.

Nonetheless, when it comes to determining which route to take–Do It Yourself (DIY) or DRaaS, along with availability, there are a lot of criteria to determine before making the call. With known, recurring and unforeseen costs associated with setting up your own recovery infrastructure, costs will only continue to rise and less savings will be made. On the opposite, costs are upfront and inclusive with DRaaS, and do not require investment in hardware. Pay-as-you-go is how this operates with cloud-based storage. Increasing company uptime is a win – win opportunity with less spending.

In addition to the lower total ownership costs, DRaaS offers two more key advantages compared to DIY take-up–flexibility and the ability to scale up your business. Cloud-sourced options that change as needs change, ensuring that companies have all the assets they need instantly, should the organization decide to scale up at a certain point in time.

With the service provider’s liability now being restored, all reporting activities associated with the DIY solution can now be excluded from the system. The provider ensures that the procedures are not only documented, but also comprehensive, communicated to all relevant stakeholders, can be easily understood and can be easily executed in the event of a disaster.

Keeping track of changes in the production environment and ensuring that the replicated environment is up-to-date is also one of the key skills and specifications through the supplier.

This can otherwise be a daunting task to maintain the correct history and repeated consistency for the IT department of the company. The primary requirement is to ensure that the company is DR-ready and that the recovery is consistent with the business requirements. This is a job that requires a considerable amount of time and effort. With DRaaS, this duty is now on the vendor’s shoulders and they perform the recovery scenario testing with all the rigor they need. Several vendors also provide arrangements to carry out penetration testing.

In the DRaaS game, almost all vendors comply with different regulations and security frameworks. Data security is one of the key focus areas and criteria of these levels of compliance. It goes without saying, therefore, that the protection of business data for the service provider is of utmost criticality. It gives the company the fair confidence not only to do the recovery thing, but also to do it right.

How do I know that’s for me?
DRaaS can be tailored to meet business needs of all sizes. If all of the above advantages are appealing, but you do not have the necessary funds or resources, you can choose either of the three models: Self-Service DRaaS–here the provider will provide you with all the necessary tools to install, track and execute the replications of your production environment in disaster preparedness. The organization’s IT team will come into action when the outage happens to conduct the restoration procedures.

  • Assisted DRaaS–Although this is a rare option, the vendor will not only provide you with the resources you need, but will also act as a trusted assistant to help you implement, test and manage your recovery plan. The vendor will help fill in all the resource gaps in the event of a disaster to ensure that your business meets its defined recovery goals.
  • Managed DRaaS–This is the most practiced method of vendor-based recovery solutions with all the liability that lies with the provider. All facets of rehabilitation are handled by the service provider, with your recovery mission being accomplished as their top priority.

Final Thoughts- DRaaS provides an enterprise with the requisite flexibility by offering a high-availability cloud service with a continuous mirroring of critical infrastructure and data, allowing business recovery within minutes of a failure. Several vendors also provide ongoing analysis for recovery management to assess and verify company readiness for DR. There is, however, a single catch here–as with any outsourced involvement, the provider wants a level of trust and assurance.

The hosting of the provider should not only be secure, but should also be able to measure up to the required RTOs (Recovery Time Objectives) and RPOs (Recovery Point Objective). This is an undertaking that demands the utmost attention and is therefore required to carry out due diligence. This can be done through a thorough vendor comparative evaluation to determine that they are practicing what they are preaching.


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