At the conclusion of a recent call I had with Rob Tellone, the CEO of vBC Cloud, he asked me, “What do you consider the difference between business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR)?” I gave him my definition of each but then went on to explain to him that on the business side of the house no one really cares about the definition of either BC or DR. At the end of the day, all they care about is how quickly and cost effectively IT can bring the affected parts of their business back online regardless of the scope of the incident.
As simple as recovery sounds, bringing a business back online has proved incredibly elusive as barriers to doing it run the gamut. It may require a dedicated off-site location, proper hardware and software and people properly trained to run and manage the site. Then even for those organizations that take all of these steps, they still may not be able to recover all their applications. If you combine that with today’s tighter budgets and lower tolerances for any type of outage, it’s clear that companies have to reconsider how they’ve been addressing this challenge.
Case in point is a Fortune 500 data center at which I recently worked. It had thousands of AIX, Linux, Sun Solaris and Windows servers in production and there was no way it could possibly recover all of them despite having a dedicated off-site DR facility. All it could recover was the most mission-critical applications and, even then, those could take up to a week to recover.
Everyone in the company who was in the know knew that to successfully do a recovery, the stars had to almost perfectly align. They hoped they had selected the right applications to recover, all of the application data required to do the recovery would need to be accessible, and the people needed to do the recovery had to drop everything else they were doing to come in and perform the recovery. Then even if this all went off like clockwork, it still took days to do this base line recovery. This was more than enough time for the business to potentially fail, anger current customers and shake investor confidence.
The disconcerting part is that this organization’s DR plan was better than most. This was a financially stable organization staffed by a relatively sophisticated IT staff putting in place the best solution that it could afford at that time.
This brings me back to the conversation I had with Rob at vBC Cloud. Over the last year and a half while at the helm of vBC Cloud, he has been working to build a cloud-based DR offering that does NOT require organizations:
- To virtualize their entire environment
- To build a dedicated disaster recovery (DR) site
- To buy any hardware or software
- Dedicate staff to manage and run it
- Take months or years to implement it
Rather, vBC Cloud has taken software from a number of providers including the likes of InMage and done its own custom programming to streamline the deployment and implementation of its software. Now vBC Cloud can deliver to its customers either DR or BC in the form of software as a service (SaaS). As a result, vBC Cloud enables its subscribing customers to:
- Protect applications on either physical or virtual machines
- Implement a viable DR plan in as quickly as two weeks (or less)
- Recover from any type of disaster regardless of its scope
- Transparently recover individual application(s) within minutes
- Recover application(s) without any data loss
IT continues to wrangle over the definition of BC and DR but all that business owners ultimately care about is recovering some or all of their applications as quickly, inexpensively and effectively as possible. Until recently, achieving this type of recovery was simply not feasible.
vBC Cloud’s decision to leverage cloud computing and combine technologies from providers like InMage, 3PAR, VMware and others is resulting in dramatic changes in how companies think about performing application recoveries. So whether they are recovering a file that was corrupted 10 minutes ago, an application server that had a hardware failure or recovering an entire data center that is a smoking hole, vBC Cloud provides organizations access to a DR and BC solution that makes application recovery in the cloud a point-and-click operation.