A Practical D2D2D DR Solution for Real Life Disasters

Tsunamis in Japan.Floods in the Midwest.Super cells and tornados throughout the South (and even the North!) As these news stories make headlines, they should serve as a reminder that no business, even small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), are immune from disasters and the need to recover from them. But as more SMEs adopt disk as their primary backup target, they need a practical D2D2D (disk-to-disk-to-disk) solution that ensures they can recover from a disaster should it occur.

You know backup to disk has gone main stream when one attends a Tape Summit such as I did a few weeks ago and even the tape vendors in attendance are publicly admitting that using tape as a primary backup target is, for the most part, dead. But part of the reason tape vendors are throwing in the towel for using tape as a primary backup target is because of experiences such as what one Revinetix user recently shared with me.

He had used tape for years prior to switching to Revinetix and its disk-based backup solution three or so years ago.  Since making that change, his company’s backups complete successfully with nightly incremental backups completing in less than hour.

Doing restores is no longer an issue either as he says he sometimes completes file restores while he still has the user on the phone. All he does is bring up the backup software GUI, navigate to the file the user wants restored, right-clicks on it and, “Presto!” the file is restored.

There are of course other intangible benefits that backing up data to disk brings with it. In the case of Revinetix, it deduplicates backup data so it minimizes backup data stores by enabling companies to store tens of TBs of backup data on disk. But in the case of this user, the biggest benefit he realized is the ability to sleep peacefully at night knowing that backups were completing successfully.

As we talked, recent events were also on our minds (probably more on my mind than on his as a tornado ripped through the neighborhood of my childhood home 4 weeks ago.) One of the limitations we saw that disk has is its immobility. So while backup and restores to disk are definitely faster than tape, the backup to disk does not help if a disaster occurs and all of the backup data is residing under a pile of debris.

No one likes to think about the possibilities of disasters or that disasters will happen to them. But these are pictures of what used to be a heavily forested area less than a mile from where I grew up in central Wisconsin. If you had told me in late February that all of the trees and homes there would be nothing more than rubble by the end of April as a result of a tornado tearing through the neighborhood, I would have seriously doubted you. But pictures don’t lie.

Hillside Pic#10 - Good One - 35%.jpg
Hillside Pic#05 35%.jpgYet this is nothing compared to the devastation that occurred in the South where the Wall Street Journal’s website has horrific pictures from Pratt City, Alabama. Also, if I have my facts correct, that same storm that spawned the tornados that leveled Pratt City, Alabama, dumped tons of water on the Upper Midwest which resulted in the Black River in Poplar Bluffs, MO, overflowing the top of a levee. This appears to be contributing to a judge approving a plan to blow up yet another levee which will flood Missouri farmland in the hopes that it will leave an Illinois town further down river unscathed from flooding.

Then, even if you are not directly affected (in the case of the tornado in Wisconsin, none of my immediate family’s property was destroyed or damaged), disasters make it difficult to get around. My mother was away when the tornado struck and could not get home for two days as all roads (primary, secondary and tertiary) to her house were blocked by fallen trees and debris and my brother who lives nearby was stuck at his home without any power.

While I have not seen any reports about the difficulty in moving around, the same situation probably holds true in Alabama and Missouri as well. If power lines and trees are down or roads are under water, even if your place of business is unharmed, it may be almost impossible to get to keep your business operational if you cannot access it or all power or routes to it are cut off.

As this applies to disk-based backup, if data is backed up locally and never moved offsite, your data might be perfectly safe but your business still might fail. This is why a solution like Revinetix includes D2D2D so data stored on disk can be moved offsite to account for these types of situations when your business is either destroyed or simply becomes inaccessible because of the scope of the devastation in the area.

Revinetix gives users two ways to account for these types of situations with its D2D2D feature.

  • Removable disk drive. Administrators can configure Revinetix to copy backups to any external hard disk drive (HDD) that is connected to the Revinetix solution via a USB port. Once copied to the HDD, the drive can then be moved and stored offsite. Users who will want to take advantage of this feature are those that have no secondary site, need an affordable disaster recovery plan, want media they can re-use for years (the same disk drive can likely be re-used for 5 – 10 years, assuming it has sufficient capacity) and it is easy to setup and do.
  • Replication. Replication is the other D2D2D option that Revinetix offers. This is intended for those users that have a secondary remote site and a WAN link. They can then configure Revinetix to replicate backup data to this secondary site thereby eliminating the overhead with manually handling HDDs and transporting them offsite.  When a disaster strikes, data recovery is as easy as enabling the Revinetix D2D2D appliance at the secondary site to become the primary appliance with immediate access to business critical data.

Backup to disk is great but as recent weather events and natural disasters illustrate, there is still a need to move backup data offsite. One can be directly (building destroyed) or indirectly (power off and roads closed) impacted by a disaster but both can have the same net effect: the inability to access data to bring the business back online. Using one or both of Revinetix’ D2D2D features, users can still implement disk-based backup with the assurance they can get their data offsite and be able to recover no matter how a disaster affects them.

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