Technical White Papers are designed to introduce Symantec partners and end users to key technologies and technical concepts that are associated with the Symantec Backup and Recovery product family. The information within a Technical White Paper will assist partners and end users as they design and implement data protection solutions based on Symantec Backup and Recovery products.
This white paper is intended to assist technical personnel as they design and implement the bare metal and dissimilar hardware recovery features of Backup Exec™ 2014 and make related decisions. The business value of Backup Exec™ 2014’s bare metal and dissimilar hardware recovery technology will also be considered in this white paper.
This white paper will explore the following topics related to the bare metal and dissimilar hardware recovery technology found within Backup Exec™ 2014:
Modern Business is Driven by Servers
Modern businesses are based upon an electronic foundation comprised of one or more servers. These servers contain and manage critical applications and data that are the lifeblood of business, without which businesses cannot function at a very basic level. Some examples of critical applications found on these servers might be Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, or Active Directory.
Unfortunately, servers fail. It is not a matter of if a server will fail; it’s a matter of when. Without adequate planning and preparation, server downtime can cause financial damage to organizations as the ability to generate revenue is lost, and the company’s ability to meet regulatory compliance requirements is affected. Planning for operational continuity and recovery from outages is rapidly becoming an urgent priority for all types of businesses today.
Causes of Server Failure and Downtime
The danger of server failure is a reality for all IT professionals. There are a variety of events that can cause server failure—and natural disasters are only one example. The list of possible causes of server failure includes the following:
Cost of Server Downtime
The cost of server downtime includes tangible, direct costs such as lost transaction revenue, lost wages, lost inventory, remedial labor costs, marketing costs, bank fees and legal penalties from failing to meet regulatory compliance requirements or from not delivering on service level agreements, and intangible, indirect costs including lost business opportunities, loss of employees and/or employee morale, decrease in stock value, loss of customer/partner goodwill, brand damage, driving business to competitors or even bad publicity.
The cost of server downtime can be very significant to an organization, and perhaps even fatal. The longer the server downtime persists, the greater the damage, and the more likely the IT “blow” suffered to the organization becomes fatal. This is also true for partners and service providers with responsibility for the business continuity of end user customers. The ability to recover quickly from server failure is a key element of any service provider’s portfolio.
Server Recovery Problems and Obstacles
In light of the problem of server failure and downtime, it is critical that businesses equip themselves with tools and solutions to recover from such an event. Solutions that enable quick server recovery in the event of a disaster can mitigate both the server downtime itself as well as the associated costs.
Of course, there are obstacles and problems that make old server recovery methods, as well as new elements of the server recovery problem, difficult to overcome. These include the complexity of manual server recovery processes as well as the problem of recovering to dissimilar hardware configurations.
Manual server recovery can be a time-consuming and tedious process. Typically, manual recovery includes rebuilding a server by reinstalling the operating system, rebooting several times throughout the recovery process, reconfiguring the system, loading backup software, and hoping that no errors have occurred along the way. This process, which can take hours or even days, generally exceeds the capabilities of the average small business.
For larger organizations, the complexity of the server recovery problem can be exacerbated when an organization has one or more remote sites at which servers are located.
Recovering to dissimilar hardware is also essential to effective server protection. It is cost-prohibitive for companies to maintain standby replicas of production server configurations for recovery purposes. Even in situations where standby hardware is available, small variations in hardware builds can cause problems for full server recovery solutions that are not equipped to deal with dissimilar hardware.
Bare Metal and Dissimilar Hardware Recovery with Backup Exec™ 2014
To help businesses prepare for and overcome the problem of server failure and downtime, Symantec has introduced Backup Exec™ 2014 with integrated bare metal recovery and dissimilar hardware recovery – also known as hardware discovery - capabilities. These features make full server recovery easy, and offer it as a built-in element of Backup Exec™ 2014 data and application protection practices.
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