Despite the redundancy and resilience the enterprise has gained from virtualization and cloud computing, disaster recovery remains one of the most overlooked functions on the IT to-do list.
In many cases, organizations have established backup and recovery services for their primary applications, but without constant care and attention to the processes behind B&R, and the way they are affected by constantly evolving data loads and architectures, the reliability of these services is questionable at best. In the digital economy, it’s not enough to recover – you must recover quickly and thoroughly.
According to recent research from cloud recovery specialist Asigra, the typical enterprise recovers less than 5 percent of its data during the restore process, most of it from file systems. Most data recovery requests are the result of ransomware attacks and losses from cloud-based platforms like Office 365 and Salesforce, and more than half of all requests across multiple industry verticals are for previous generations of data. Only about 13 percent of recovered data was lost due to user error or accidental deletion. What this shows is that while only a small portion of data is typically needed to get applications and services up and running, many organizations still pay a premium for 100 percent backup of their online data.
Many organizations are turning to Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) as an efficient means to streamline the recovery process. In fact, says Quorum Vice President Darin Pendergraft, nearly 40 percent of organizations have 100 percent DRaaS backup already, with no on-premises or even hybrid solutions to fall back on. Among those that are still relying on traditional forms of B&R, however, 64 percent are juggling between three and five independent solutions, which is not only expensive but can lead to lengthy recovery times in the event of a major loss. More than 80 percent report recovery times of at least an hour for a typical server failure, with 25 percent saying it can take as long as two hours.
DRaaS is emerging as an increasingly compelling solution now that fear over the reliability and stability of third-party infrastructure is subsiding, says Enterprise Storage Forum’s Drew Robb. According to service provider Zetta, confidence in recovery strategies tops 90 percent among DRaaS users compared to only 74 percent of on-premises users. And as the frequency of outages continues to mount, due to everything from power outages and hardware failure to malware and natural disasters, organizations are starting to weigh the value of their recovery solutions much more carefully.
Some of these issues may be resolved by the private cloud, says tech blogger Avinash Pudota, although it will depend largely on how well B&R is implemented as a core capability. Private clouds allow servers to be powered up and down more easily than traditional infrastructure, and data loads can be shifted dynamically and in ways that do not interfere with the user experience. And since data remains on dedicated hardware that is not shared with others, it is more secure and less subject to performance issues caused by systems and data beyond your control. As well, private clouds can also be tailored to meet the recovery and resilience criteria of industry and government standards like PCI, HIPAA and SOX. Already, private cloud recovery techniques range from standard offsite backup to rapid hot-site SAN-SAN replication.
Still, it’s important to recognize that DR is not simply a platform or a service but a process. And it is not something that simply kicks in when the bits stop flowing but must be managed, monitored and tested on a continual basis in order to deliver optimum performance in both backup and recovery mode.
Like any complicated system, DR must have regular maintenance to ensure it will be there when you really need it.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.