Disaster Recovery - the death of tape

DR (Disaster Recovery). All too often we use this term to define our plan of action in the case of a catastrophic event that would wipe out our typical way of performing business tasks. The truth is a disaster can be as simple as someone tripping over a cord of the server in the closet...

How important is your data and systems that support it? Nowadays, that answer is simple. Having access to your data and ensuring your business is available and on-line is imperative - there is no other option. According to a recent report, Enterprises dependant on IT systems are losing an estimated $60,000 / hour*. And although that estimate may seem high, those sorts of losses in revenue, productivity and operational costs are not out of the norm - even for a smaller business.

You need to investigate and invest in a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. The first step is determining how you backup your data.

The main components you need to assess to find the solution you need fall into 4 categories:

  • RPO (Recovery Point Objective) - Is your backup reliable and will it ensure that you have uncorrupted data that is current?
  • RTO (Recovery Time Objective) - How quickly do you need to restore your data to be back up and running? How can you accomplish that with a minimal or no manual intervention?
  • Cost - Data recovery is invaluable however your backup needs to be cost effective.
  • Complexity - Simplify your solution as much as possible. With numerous options available, you may need a mixture of different systems within your DR strategy.

With these concerns in mind, analyze your data. Decide not only what data is mission-critical, but what are the interdependent systems that you need to protect to access and utilize that mission-critical data. It's about spending money, but spending it wisely. You should classify your information to determine how to treat it.

Ultimately, it's not about the backup, it's about recovery. The traditional old standard for backup is tape. Approximately 60 - 70% of Enterprises still have tape in their systems (even if it's outsourced). That puts your mind at ease knowing your data is backed up, but have you ever tried to recover it?

All reliable backup processes need to be tested. Typically, you run into a handful of issues that not only involve manual interaction, they sometimes fail completely. The worst time to determine that your backup strategy is unreliable is when your business is out of service and you need to recover the data. Tape recovery is long and tedious and with the increased availability of cloud services, the end of tape could be in sight. The benefits of cloud services boast the scalability and recoverability that you need to meet your current business demands.

The market is full of cost effective, on-demand backup solutions ready to meet your business DR requirements, you should be assessing your options: simple local storage, long term archives, quickly recoverable mission critical data that can be supported through replication and geographically redundant, secure data centres. Utilize the cloud for reliable protection. Don't settle for the backup process that your predecessors set up, investigate your options and you'll find a way to create more value and finally put an end to tape.

Laura Stevenson
Director of Product Management
Primus Business Services