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Many aspects of DR remain a mystery; impeding the way to a secure, bullet-proof insurance policy should something go wrong

Disaster recovery (DR) has traditionally been a major challenge for IT departments. Even with the advent of server virtualization and other technologies that have simplified DR implementation and some aspects of on-going management, it is still a complex and (often extremely) costly undertaking. For those applications that do not require high availability, but are still mission- and business-critical, the decision as to which [applications] to spend money on for true disaster recovery can be a struggle.

And that's just the beginning. However, as is true in life, organizations simply don't know what they don't know. Many aspects of DR remain a mystery; impeding the way to a secure, bullet-proof insurance policy should something go wrong. This article will examine the myths and truths surrounding disaster recovery and how they play into the bigger picture.

Myth: Backup equals DR - Many organizations defer to backup and believe their data is protected when in fact, it is not. The notion of backup simply refers to copying files to tape or another disk, and storing it somewhere to be accessed eventually should the need arise. However, using a backup solution to meet business continuity (BC) needs will not work. Data backup, while necessary, is simply not a comprehensive information and application recovery solution. While it is generally inexpensive and convenient, it does not ensure quick recovery when a disaster occurs; it only ensures that the data is stored and can be retrieved - but not necessarily in a timely manner. With backup, a business will not be able to get back up and running without a delay of days, weeks, or even months after an outage as they try to piece together data and applications so operations can continue. In addition, backup offerings are often based on older technology, hence their inexpensive price-tags.

Truth: While backup is better than nothing, true DR is a holistic approach to hazard mitigation. First, it involves technology that creates a complete replica of your infrastructure in a secondary location allows you to fail over your systems to that replica. Recovery time is measured in minutes or hours. Secondly, a true DR plan includes the mobilization of employees who are designated to help mitigate human resources issues as needed - especially in the case of a natural disaster. As you can see, backup is just a small piece of the puzzle; true disaster recovery is far more multifaceted and effective should disaster strike.

Myth: All DR is created equal - Even with the intricate technology that is available today, some organizations still wrestle with tape backups and call it DR. Others spend significant dollars on a small number of applications to deliver high availability while leaving the remaining applications under-protected.

Truth: For true disaster recovery and business continuity, organizations can unlock the power of the hyper-scale public cloud infrastructure (such as Amazon's AWS), making it a natural extension of the primary data center.

Myth: DR is complex and expensive - Until now, enterprise disaster recovery involved secondary data centers, redundant storage and servers, complex networking and high costs. Redundant infrastructure is inherently expensive to design, provision, and manage whether delivered as an in-house DR solution or outsourced to a third party providers. And while the public cloud offers a solid use-case for DR, complexity is its downfall.

Truth: By unlocking the power of the public cloud, DR need not be expensive, complex, or even slow to deploy. The cloud enables enterprises and service providers to offer robust disaster recovery and business continuity that is simpler and far less expensive than traditional approaches available on the market today. The proper solution should allow the user to customize the level of protection and cost directly to the criticality of the application and data.

Using cloud to implement DR allows:

  • Normal operation without having to manage the complexities or costs of two disparate data centers
  • Automation without any noticeable disruption
  • Recovery of key applications, elimination of manual cloud provisioning
  • Effective hybrid cloud management - reducing the complexities of the public cloud and the expenses of traditional disaster recovery

There are dozens of options CIOs and IT managers can defer to when selecting a disaster recovery solution - some involving more low-hanging choices that won't necessarily solve any problems should the need arise. In order to truly ensure that your organization is protected from the unforeseen possibilities of a disaster, it's necessary to spend the time - and take the steps - to ultimately safeguard your mission-critical data. Your IT department will sleep better at night knowing that in the wake of a disaster, business continuity, and ultimately your bottom line, will remain intact.

About Marc Crespi
Marc Crespi is the CEO and co-founder of OneCloud Software where he is responsible for the company’s overall strategy and execution. He has more than 20 years experience driving product execution and revenue in high growth organizations.

Prior to OneCloud Software, Marc was Vice President of Product Management at ExaGrid Systems where he was responsible for the product roadmap and strategy, technical pre-sales support, manufacturing, and business development. Under his watch, the ExaGrid product line supported growth into the 10s of millions in revenue and won several industry awards.

Prior to ExaGrid, Marc held various leadership roles in product management, sales, and customer support at companies like Altiris, Bay Networks, and several startups. In his spare time, he supports various Veteran’s organizations and spends time with his wife and children in suburban Boston.

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