Mystery of the Unknown!

Mystery of the Unknown!

Your Work place is no longer available, disaster has struck, and time is money! How many times have you heard these statements?

It is a nightmare for CIOs and IT directors to have to explain downtime to their CEO and CFO.

For many CEOs and CFOs, what was important yesterday is no longer valid today. Too much concentration and spending has been invested into the infrastructure of networking which opposes the reality of today, that is more concentrated upon business availability and continuity.

What would happen if your company had a small disaster that equals to big trouble? If something happens to the workplace, then how much will it cost to recover lost data? What contingency plan does your company have? And finally, how much will all of the above costs? This is not an example of psychic divination, it is a mere fact and we all experimented that after September 11th 2001.

There are different variations to business continuity, which will all depend on to which extent is acceptable for a company to have a downtime. Is it two days, one hour or perhaps not even a mere 5 minutes? Does the company need business continuity to the extent of an off-site disaster recovery?

Business continuity can be differentiated in two levels.

  1. Business continuity where we secure and manage all risks which may be brought about by technology failure. This includes human error, equipment failure, database corruption, hacking and various other external disasters.
  2. Business continuity where we require an offsite backup (Disaster Recovery Site) to resume the same level of productivity in case of workplace disruption. The disaster recovery (DR) planning deals with massive site failure whether it is complete or partial. Site failure is typically the permanent consequence of broadly disruptive forces.

Threats to businesses are more obvious today, however, they have always existed and they always will prevail. The event, which occurred on September 11, changed the definition of crisis management plans since many companies had disaster recovery plans in place. However, very few had an off-site plan.

A DR plan begins with evaluating the vulnerabilities of an organization’s information technology assets. Your business may have done some work towards planning for a possible disaster but will it survive such circumstances? The next important step is to find out the effect of a disaster on your business. How much money could you lose if the IT systems are no longer available? How much money would it cost to recover your IT systems?

The third step is to develop a disaster recovery strategy that fits your requirements in terms of cost and time. After the strategy has been defined the detailed work of ‘disaster recovery’ begins by implementing the plan that will allow your business to survive any situation. Studies have shown that even the best plan will not succeed if it has not been practiced and maintained. On a final note, a long-term program of testing and maintenance should be attempted to ensure that the plan will work at any time.

Many solutions are available and every company has a different set of needs. The main issue in choosing DR solutions is the speed of replication and recovery. In the past, 48 hours was acceptable to get backup tapes loaded, and be up-and-running again. Today, every uptime moment qualifies as mission critical. As more enterprises rely on the Internet and require immediate access to their data to function, they are less tolerant of lost uptime. Each day more companies realize the only way to minimize downtime associated with disaster is to implement an alternative data processing site that can be operational in a very short time. One of the major technical challenges in maintaining a backup data center is in keeping the data at the backup data center synchronized with the data in the primary data center.

Thanks to today’s available technology, software supporting any-to-any connectivity, not only delivers lightning-fast data mirroring and replication technology that enables the creation of cutting edge backup data, but centers with no single point of failure. Also, it makes the resulting fast remote data synchronization available across vendor lines and avoids the problems of host-based replication. This software does not require any specialized hardware to replicate storage data. It can replicate data over any existing LAN, MAN, or WAN network infrastructure. The replication is configured and managed independently of application servers.

Fault-tolerant hardware is available, with zero interruption in processing, zero loss of performance and zero loss of data integrity, even if a component fails. This means that unlike a high availability cluster, these computers do not impose recovery time. Their designs include modular redundancy fault-tolerant server to protect your users and applications from component outages for an average less than five minutes of downtime annually.

Risks can be minimized but never entirely eliminated. All studies show that businesses, which have a disaster recovery plan for their vital systems, have a substantially higher likelihood of surviving when loss occurs.

No one knows when a disaster will strike. It may never happen, or it may happen today. It is only for that of which ‘might happen’. The mystery of the unknown! Being ready and prepared ahead of time can mark the fine line between staying in business or going out of business