In modern companies, whose activities are mainly based on data management and non-stop operations, the whole business depends entirely on IT infrastructures, on their productivity
24 hours a day. No organization can suspend business activities and processes. On the contrary, it must ensure business continuity and deal with any problems by adopting a Disaster recovery
The costs of downtime, in fact, are incalculable and any loss of data can seriously jeopardize the existence of the company. The loss of data is not only caused by natural disasters, power outages, hardware failures and errors committed by users but it is increasingly caused by the consequence of problems encountered with the software and harmful events related to IT security
. It is therefore essential to resort to Disaster Recovery solutions
aimed at minimizing losses and downtime. This is a current necessity because data centers are increasingly software-defined, hybrid and public cloud and, consequently, increasingly exposed to this type of threat.
In a software-defined virtualized environment, applications run on virtual machines (VM), therefore no longer hardware-based. At the same time, physical environment is still linked to the hardware health. Although these new technologies bring significant advantages to companies, which certainly benefit in efficiency, the same does not apply to the areas of Disaster Recovery.
Most Disaster Recovery solutions are still embryonic or sketchy, lacking the ability to adapt to the amount of data produced by companies. To overcome these difficulties it becomes of fundamental importance to create a customized Disaster Recovery plan, that is, tailored to the customer's needs.
The need to adopt a disaster recovery system capable of preserving uptime, reducing the risk of data loss and maximizing productivity in the event of compromising situations, is equivalent to subscribing to a digital insurance policy. The risk is higher than it seems: it is not so much a question of "if" the catastrophe will occur, but of "when" it will actually happen.
The concept of Disaster Recovery
What is Disaster Recovery then? The term disaster recovery literally means an emergency recovery following a catastrophe, that is, the time and work required to return to operation following a data loss or inactivity event. The time required varies according to the solution chosen to protect the company from data loss.
Disaster recovery not only affects the length of time in which systems and employees remain idle, but also the amount of data lost when it is necessary to revert to a previous version of the same. Companies should ask themselves this question: "How much does an hour of inactivity cost us?", and above all: "Is it possible to remember and reproduce the work that employees (or systems) have done in the last hours?".
95% of organizations are unable to answer these questions ...
Backup alone is not a sufficient disaster recovery solution!
An efficient disaster recovery service involves taking care of several aspects: business continuity
, backup, RTO
. A concept well known to insiders is that of data backup
, a process that involves the replication of data or virtual machines on another device (or location) performed periodically, based on a predetermined time interval (for example every 24 hours), so that such data or virtual machines can be restored or used as a long-term storage solution. However, data backup is an empty concept without the adoption of a disaster recovery solution that allows you to restore files in the face of an IT disaster.
The 3CiME Technology Disaster Recovery service
Since data loss and downtime have a devastating impact on companies, disaster recovery is an issue that should be discussed based on strategic business criteria and objectives. To questions such as "How much downtime can a company handle?" and "How much data can be lost before causing irreversible damage?" it is impossible to answer exclusively from a technical perspective. The responses vary based on the revenue streams from IT systems, from the value associated with company data, logistics and other business processes that depend directly on IT. In short, given the involvement of numerous technologies, disaster recovery represents a key element to fully safeguard the business objectives.
When developing a disaster recovery plan, it is important to keep in mind that not all systems, applications and data have the same critical value for a company. In the case of the main applications, the adoption of a solid Disaster Recovery system, which provides for a remote site, low RTO / RPO and a tested recovery plan, is of paramount importance. In the case of other applications and data types, cheaper solutions and higher RPO / RTO should be implemented.
In defining the disaster recovery plan, it is absolutely necessary to prioritize the most important aspects. First of all, it is necessary to establish the maximum tolerated downtime threshold for each application, discussing it with the managers of the business lines. In this way it is possible to know as soon as possible which ones must guarantee greater availability with minimal data losses. It is very likely, in fact, that there are applications that a company can do without for several hours. At this stage it is essential to plan service levels tout court in order to avoid bad surprises in emergency situations.
To design a Disaster Recovery solution, different structures are available with as many solutions, each of which has a different cost. The most economical solution is probably the use of traditional backup software, which however proves inadequate to guarantee the security of modern environments. When setting up a Disaster Recovery site remotely, you can choose between a replica of the production site at another location or a cloud-based service (DRaaS). The choice of one of these two solutions implies the choice between CAPEX and OPEX, that is, between the capital and operating costs of an online service.
Another consideration to make is the number of tools to be included in the Disaster Recovery plan. In fact, if it is based on numerous complex technologies, the DR will necessarily imply a complex and difficult recovery process. In emergency situations, the use of different tools can cause errors and therefore huge costs.
When it comes to Disaster Recovery, large companies also face compliance and administration issues. Data legislation is becoming increasingly stringent and adapting to it must be part of a DR strategy. To ensure compliance, procedures must be documented and solutions must be tested and reliable. To correctly decide whether it is possible to store data in the cloud, bearing in mind where the cloud service is located and who controls this service, it is also necessary to take into account the regulations to which a company must comply.
3CimeTechnology is able to assist you in the definition of the project, in the implementation phase, and, finally, in the management of Disaster Recovery. The modus operandi will be defined according to the customer, on the basis of the points raised above, among which:
- Array-based replication
- Appliance-based replication
- Synchronous replication
- Asynchronous replication
- Guest/operating system-based replication
- Hypervisor-based replication
- Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
For more information on our DR-related services, also read