Did you know that 911 hotlines receive calls when Facebook goes down? It’s true! In today’s world, anyone who believes backup by itself is a reliable business continuity strategy is surely living in the past. Business Continuity in a digital age - where consumers expect always-on services- necessitates a resiliency strategy that meets this high demand.
Maintaining resiliency across critical business infrastructures and services can be complex and intimidating, with data centers being hot beds of multi-vendor hardware, diverse operating platforms and a mix of virtualization and cloud technologies. While some vendors position themselves as the sweet spot for high availability and disaster recovery needs for the enterprise, implementing their ‘always on’ backup and replication services leaves your business largely unprepared and exposed to repercussions such as extended downtime, associated revenue loss, heavy regulatory fines and importantly, consumer dissatisfaction.
Having a well-designed business continuity strategy is important. It must include backup and replication, but also satisfy high availability and disaster recovery needs at the application level, guaranteeing maximum uptime for critical services. A cold site hosting replicated data or backups up from another site may be good enough for certain cases, but not enough for those critical business applications. Your resiliency strategy also needs to be proactive, allowing you to migrate your running critical services to another site and maintain those near zero RTO and RPO requirements.
So, where should you start? First, map out Service Level Agreement (SLA) requirements across your cross-functional teams for all your applications; then determine how critical each one is to your business as well as the amount of downtime and data loss you can tolerate during an outage. Backup and replication will take care of the SLA requirements for the non-critical applications, but monitoring and proactive migration capabilities at the application level are necessary for your business-critical services.
Disaster recovery (DR) is not as costly today as in the past. With so many public cloud services available now, you can elect to use one of them as a DR target and eliminate the need to build your own secondary data center. Be aware of the different RPOs and RTOs that each option entails so there are no surprises in the event of a complete site outage. For example, if you need to proactively move IT business operations off your primary site because of an expected natural disaster or civil unrest.
Whether you go with the cloud or a physical data center, DR solutions that allow you to failover applications to these targets and failback when required - gives you a seamless, real-time business continuity strategy. So, take a look at your business continuity plans again, don’t get fooled by backup and replication technologies that claim to be the panacea for resiliency, and look to Veritas for advice on how to build a robust and comprehensive business continutiy plan for your organization - one that incorporates backup but also covers your highly visible mission-critical applications.
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