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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Building IT Resiliency with Data Protection and Disaster Recovery Solutions

By Darrell Riddle, Senior Director of Product Marketing at FalconStor Software

In this contributed article, Darrell explains what IT Resiliency is and why it is important for business continuity.

It is now an essential fact: A company cannot operate unless its IT services are running and its data is accessible. Reliable, continuous access to data, applications and IT services are the new cornerstones of every business. When IT is down, employees lose access to email and other essential applications and become unproductive. Customer enquiries are ignored, and the business slows to a standstill. However, when managers look at their data centers from the perspective of services – collections of applications, systems, servers and data – they can implement data protection and disaster recovery (DR) solutions that result in effective planning for IT resiliency.

IT resiliency is the ability of a data center to return and recover from an issue or disaster, whether it comes from a natural event, a malicious act or human error. The planning difficulty stems from expanding data center complexity with hybrid physical and virtual environments, cloud-based applications and network connectivity. Data center managers must create effective policies to protect IT services and associated data, while ensuring that these services are continuously available and, if interrupted, are quickly restored. Essentially, this is an insurance plan for the data center. The policy ensures that the data center continues to operate. Every minute an employee does not have access to vital applications and IT services is time not spent on essential business operations. In fact, if asked, most company leaders would say they could only afford a maximum of four hours of downtime at any one instance.



Data center managers cannot know when an issue may occur that will affect IT services. Although there is some warning for natural disasters such as hurricanes, there is no announcement made before an equipment failure, power loss or an employee accidently unplugging a key server or flipping the wrong switch. Data center managers must turn to data protection and disaster recover solutions to ensure that data is protected against any loss and that services can be brought back online quickly. The job of the data center manager becomes easier if these solutions are automated and run without constant oversight.

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. This system allows data centers to reduce data loss almost to zero. The other technology solution that is essential to building a resilient IT plan is automated DR. Automated DR takes all the time-consuming steps of recovery for an IT service and automates them. Rather than scrambling to complete numerous, complex, manual steps, a data center manager simply clicks a button to get services started. It removes the error-prone human element from the recovery process and restores IT services within minutes rather than hours or days. The combination of these two technologies creates an IT resiliency plan that is essential to a data center manager’s peace of mind.

Managers can build resiliency once they categorize applications, servers and data as complete IT services they are providing to their businesses. Once these services are outlined, they can implement data protection methods for each one and build in automated DR policies that handle recovery in the event of a disaster. By taking these steps, data center managers will sleep easier at night knowing that their companies are fully protected and covered in the event of a disaster.

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