“Disaster recovery (DR) may not be hot among our executive management team but they have definitely turned up the heat around DR.” That statement, from a storage administrator at a university in the Pittsburgh area, is reflective of the new view that executives in all sizes of organizations are adopting right now in regards to disaster recovery. As the economy continues to slow and management has more time to focus on internal processes that need fixing, organizations are seeing definite gaps in their ability to protect and recover applications, which new solutions like Overland Storage’s REO Business Continuity Appliance (BCA) can help resolve.
A study by Applied Research, released on June 30, revealed that executive involvement on internal corporate DR committees this year has increased by 50 percent in North America. Globally, Applied Research reports executive involvement in DR committees has more than doubled since 2008. While this study is limited to enterprise organizations, DCIG has learned from speaking to IT users in smaller organizations that a similar surge is occurring among their executive management teams as well.
In the case of the aforementioned university storage administrator, the interest of his executive management in a more comprehensive DR solution stems from the number of disparate data protection solutions that the school has in place. The university’s database team, for example, may have its own data protection solution while the virtual infrastructure team has another for protecting virtualized servers and the backup team has a more generic backup software platform for protecting applications across the university.
Trouble creeps in when it comes time to hold someone accountable for recovering a specific application. If a database application is hosted on a virtualized server, who is responsible for making sure the data is recoverable: the database team, virtualized infrastructure team or main backup team? Finger pointing can ensue if and when data goes unprotected, but at the end of the day from a business perspective, all fingers point to the CIO.
These types of conflicts, coupled with lower tolerances for business discontinuity, are prompting this CIO and others in management to engage more directly in the DR activities. More specifically, CIOs need turnkey solutions that resolve the finger pointing while providing an easy and effective means to recover applications–even as environments become more complex with shorter recovery requirements.
This is exactly the situation the newly announced Overland Storage REO BCA is designed to address. It is also why executives in small organizations and those responsible for data protection in remote and branch offices (ROBOs) will find the REO BCA desirable. It provides the following capabilities that should immediately get their attention:
- Turnkey appliance that is specifically sized for small environments. The REO BCA is available in two models, the REO BCA 100 and REO BCA 200. Both ship with the same software, although the BCA 200 has more capacity and performance so it can handle small organizations with more servers or larger workloads. As a rule, the BCA 100 is designed for locations with five or less application servers while the BCA 200 is intended for those with six or more. Both the REO BCA 100 and BCA 200 can optionally be scaled to support greater than 30 application servers with a simple software upgrade.
- Fast recoveries and high availability for mission critical applications. Just because organizations are small does not mean they do not have the same need for application availability and recoverability that larger organizations do. Generally, they lack the budget or resources to put such a solution in place. The REO BCA starts at approximately $24,000, so smaller organizations can now afford to recover applications like Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Windows and Linux File Servers or virtualized servers while getting the same levels of availability and recoverability once only reserved for enterprise organizations.
- Application awareness with real-time data replication. Achieving near-zero recovery point and recovery time objectives means ensuring application and data consistency during service failovers. REO BCA filter drivers interact with protected applications to journal and time-stamp transactions, certifying that datasets can accurately be paired with their applications minimizing any risks of corruption or failed restorations.
- Push button failover and failback for Microsoft Exchange and SQL. Among applications, Microsoft Exchange tends to stand alone because no matter what size a business is, if it loses its email and calendaring functions, business activity can grind to a halt. The same applies for structured data built using SQL Server. Protecting Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server environments using a REO BCA appliance, organizations can recover their Exchange application and SQL database instances in minutes or even seconds without data loss or sacrificing data integrity.
- Environmental profiler to gather data of eight key application metrics. Accurately provisioning network bandwidth and data storage to meet desired recovery point objectives continues to be a challenge for any organization, regardless of size. Administrators using a REO BCA are provided a customizable reporting utility that records, profiles and trends environmental metrics, further enabling users to build sound business continuity plans to meet their Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives.
There are a number of other features the REO BCA provides, but these five are most likely to pique the interest of executive management in these size organizations. Knowing they can deploy an appliance that centralizes the protection and recovery of critical applications whether they are physical or virtualized, minimizes the infighting that can occur between different internal IT groups. In addition, it can be done in a way that does not break the budget while also taking all parties involved off the internal hot seat. This is bound to resonate with these individuals.
In an upcoming blog, DCIG will take a deeper look at how the REO BCA can address other concerns, such as measuring and quantifying data change rates as well as enabling the replication of data for offsite application recoveries.