The high cost of disaster recovery solutions is often justified by the cost of 'not doing business.' Simply put, the cost of downtime is usually high enough to justify the expense of a disaster recovery solution. However, the dynamics are rapidly changing and the costs associated with data recovery solutions are increasing.
Interestingly, as the upfront costs of storage drop, the total cost of ownership may be increasing. Many factors are affecting TCO - the amount of data that needs to be stored, the time it takes to protect that data, the costs of archiving that data and cost of managing that data - just to name a few. And while tools such as data deduplication can help, these factors directly affect the value of disaster recovery solutions and threaten to bust budgets for many IT departments.
Perhaps now is the time to rethink disaster recovery and pursue other methods of protecting data and business operations. Perhaps now is the time for business continuity solutions to replace disaster recovery as the first line of defense against events that can interrupt business operations.
In the past, most businesses shied away from full-fledged business continuity solutions due to the high costs-implementing business continuity usually meant doubling the costs of hardware, software, data center fees, connectivity and many other elements. After all, a fully functional business continuity solution requires the creation and duplication of all services offered by a business's primary computing resources.
However, falling hardware prices, hosted solutions, lower-cost bandwidth, and Web 2.0 technologies are making business continuity more affordable for most businesses. The primary dynamic at work here is the cost of 'time.' With disaster recovery solutions, a backup window is required-which means time is needed to perform that function. Also, DR requires management and auditing, more time needed. The very nature of DR also means downtime, which is affected by how long it takes to restore a system and redeploy applications. In other words, during a disaster, time clicks the dollars away.
The major difference between BC and DR is that BC eliminates the recovery process-if a system fails, everything keeps operating-meaning that there is no downtime. Here, the cost of downtime works against the cost of disaster recovery solutions, yet helps to justify the costs of business continuity. Of course, business continuity solutions offer other advantages to an enterprise, ranging from load balancing, replication and in the best of cases, geographical separation that places resources close to the physical users, improving performance.