The bigger IT systems get, the more complex they get, the more chance there is a failure somewhere inside and a need for disaster recovery. It’s mathematical – as you multiply the number of components or the number of computer procedures called, you multiply the possibilities for something to go wrong. Even the biggest guns in computing experience this. Google has experienced problems recently with its Google Drive data storage, and also with its mail and application services. American Airlines suffered a technology failure in April that forced it to ground all its planes in the US for several hours on end. Does this mean that failure will eventually become a certainty as systems get even more complex? (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Disaster Recovery’
In the world of disaster recovery, one of the challenges is getting people to approve budget for having the right DR capabilities in place. Unless you are dealing with enlightened senior management, it’s not always easy to get people to sign off for events that may or may not come about, at some indeterminate time in the future. While it’s important to continue the process of education and to keep passing the message about the need to properly prepared, cloud computing offers a parallel “get it for free” approach. (more…)
The classic strength of tape compared to disk is in the relative cheapness, but now there’s more. If you’re thinking in terms of long-term archives, then tape also beats disk, because it has a “shelf life” of 30 years, compared to a “measly” 10 years for disk. After 10 years, disk runs the risk of “bit rot”, and data that then become corrupted. Tape also has yet more up its sleeve. Storage volumes are set to increase without limit for tape, whereas for hard disks, some of the physical limits are becoming all too apparent. (more…)
“A stitch in time saves nine” is a well-known saying. However, “familiarity breeds contempt” as they also say, and knowing your maxims off by heart doesn’t automatically mean taking the appropriate action. The “stitch in time” in IT terms is a proper plan, or good change management, together with backup planning if things don’t work out the way you thought they would. Yet IT disasters aren’t only about servers frying or a diggers hacking through a mains cable. They’re also about bad implementation of new enterprise applications like ERP. So what’s the “stitch” or the approach that can help companies avoid disaster in this case? (more…)
In today’s world of cloud and BYOD (bring your own device) computing, disaster recovery sometimes almost seems to be organising itself. Employees can copy all sorts of data to mobile phones, tablets and personal web storage, including customer lists, proposal templates, financial spread-sheets and more. It would take at least a double disaster – for instance, both your company IT systems collapsing and their device falling into the swimming pool – for them to be no longer able to work. Does that mean that like this your tech-savvy workers can save you the effort of organising disaster recovery for your company? (more…)
Just when you thought you’d figured out DR, up pops a new concept – now it’s DR for “Disaster Resilience”, as well as for disaster recovery. Entities like the Australian Government and the Australian Emergency Management Institute are getting in on the act, so it might be good to know what’s going on and what the impact might be on enterprises and organisations in general. Two aspects in particular are of interest: the notion of connectivity for increased resilience; and the way the government is raising awareness. (more…)
Why should DR stand only for disaster recovery? In the face of the earthquakes that assail parts of New Zealand from time to time, both the short term and the long term implications are being taken into account. Short term is disaster recovery, in a wider context than just IT, but disaster recovery nonetheless to get communities and organisations back to normal as soon as possible. Longer term is disaster rebuilding, involving the restoration of resources in a way that will make them less vulnerable to the earthquakes that sooner or later will inevitably follow. So who does the rebuilding – and how? (more…)
Despite some claims that that data storage and data recovery are set to become two separate items in computing cloud land, at the moment it’s all in there together: data, the applications that handle that data and the infrastructure that needs to be managed in consequence. IT disaster recovery plans involving cloud now have to deal with new concerns: synchronisation of data records; data privacy; and data availability. With the massive computing power in the cloud and the possibility to replicate computing systems here, there and everywhere, will we now suffer from too much of a good thing? (more…)
While it’s comforting to think that a professional organisation can now hold your data safe and sound for you in the cloud, cloud DR planning still needs the same careful attention as a solution using any other technology. There are significant business advantages available, not least in terms of financial flexibility and hugely scalable resources, but basic risk analysis and identification now can save tears later. Think business common sense, common understanding and agreement with providers, and above all proper testing. (more…)
Let’s stop talking technical for a moment. Although the quality of IT disaster recovery depends on which technologies are used and how, we sometimes fall into the trap of assuming that innovation and specifications are all we need to optimise DR for our business. Cloud services are a case in point. Yet taking a moment to understand the business impact (whatever that impact is) is essential if you want to make sure that not only are you doing things right, but that you are also doing the right things. (more…)
In theory, disaster recovery like its counterpart business continuity needs to concentrate on what is critical in an organisation to keep it functioning correctly, and concentrate on planning for and managing those aspects. Experience plays a large part in understanding how far to go, and having broad knowledge gained by working in or with the various operations of a company can be invaluable. Otherwise plans can become too elaborate and too costly compared to the general level of business risk that applies to an organisation. Yet, how much disaster recovery is too much?
In any disaster that involves some kind of destruction (and are there any disasters that don’t?), there’s going to be some kind of debris. Complete disaster recovery means dealing effectively with that debris. The FEMA (American Federal Emergency Management Agency) 325 Debris Management Guide published in 2007 indicates the potential size of the problem: over a five year period, debris was on average about one quarter of the total cost of a disaster. The FEMA guide refers to physical natural and man-made materials generated by a disaster, but debris can go further than this.
Tape storage of information sometimes has an image of being out-dated, outmoded and out-performed by disk storage. That’s true enough – in the living room of your home, where audio cassettes and the VHS system for video cassettes are now antiques compared to CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray media. However, a living room is not a data centre. Professional organisations that need to store and restore large volumes of data daily have a list of criteria by which they judge their backup media. Cost to acquire, cost to operate, whether or not their brethren in the industry use it, reliability and security are some of the main ones. Tape for professional use has some surprises for anyone still thinking “living room”.
Small businesses typically don’t have much in the way of an IT department. Often as not, IT is somebody’s part-time responsibility while holding down the rest of a job. Neither do they necessarily have the funds to splash out on elaborate disaster recovery solutions, or the time to sit down and figure out how to join up all the pieces of equipment necessary for safeguarding their data. So it’s not surprising that a Californian start-up, another small business in its own right, has come out with an offer that addresses this situation. (more…)
Ever since Frederick Taylor’s ideas on system engineering were shown to have a fundamental lack of appreciation of the human factor, businesses have been coming to terms with the messiness and at the same time the potential of human beings in the disaster recovery process. Taylor’s precept was that workers were too stupid to understand what they were doing: by carving up overall processes into chunks, and assigning one chunk to each worker who then mindlessly repeated the same task, Taylor forecast great improvements in efficiency and productivity. Today, such an approach seems crude, even laughable – but is DR doing any better?