A Little Less Backup in Favor of a Whole Lot More Recovery

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Five Deadly Sins of Disaster Recovery Planning

Common blunders that result in data recovery disasters.

While most IT organizations do more than their fair share of backing things up, not many of them have a whole lot of confidence in their ability to actually recover anything.

In fact, if there were a disaster, most of them have serious concerns about whether the organization they work for would simply disappear. After all, the business has never been more dependent on IT, so if it's without IT for any serious length of time, there is essentially no business.

What would be interesting to put to the test is just how quickly the business might actually be able to recover. According to Syncsort CEO Flavio Santoni, it should really only take a matter of minutes using data protection software that uses sophisticated algorithms to not only speed the backup process by only updating block level changes, but, more importantly, by making sure an actual recovery can occur in a maximum of two to five minutes.

Santoni says that Syncsort, a provider of backup and recovery software that runs on storage systems from NetApp, is working to enhance that capability by giving IT organizations more visibility into what actually took place during the backup process and how ready the organization is to respond to a disaster. Longer term, Santoni says that Syncsort hopes to be able to make the self-tuning technologies that the company includes in its data protection software allow policy engines to automate much of the backup and recovery process.

He says there isn't enough focus on recovery these days. Everybody talks about backup windows, but backup is useless if you can't recover the data. In fact, Santoni argues that there isn't really much of a technical excuse for not being able to quickly recover from a disaster these days. What does happen is that the complexity of the overall IT environment reaches a point where it overwhelms IT operations. Companies need to make sure they have the right processes in place to map all the dependencies between applications and systems in a way that eases the recovery process.

Perhaps investors in any publicly traded company should insist that the business they are investing be able to actually demonstrate an ability to recover from any disaster in a matter of minutes. Investors obviously have the most to lose in the event of a disaster, so a company being able to demonstrate an actual recovery capability is not an unusual request. In fact, it might even be a good idea for a body such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to actually require it.

Of course, that's not likely to happen until after the next major disaster strikes, which is when investors and customers alike will begin to start asking questions about how it could be possible for an organization to be down for multiple days in an age were data protection tools and virtualization are increasingly making it difficult to be offline for any amount of time at all.

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