The idea that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) can implement a viable disaster recovery (DR) plan is one that is moving from a pipe dream to an attainable 2012 goal. Continued decreases in hardware and software costs coupled with more feature-rich backup software have resulted in DR solutions now being available as part of a backup software acquisition.
But implementing and then managing DR is still no “gimme.” It requires that SMBs select a solution that offers the right five features so they can successfully execute on a DR initiative in their environment for 2012 and beyond.
A recent survey indicates that a large percentage of SMBs do not have a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. The reasons as to why they do not implement DR vary but the most common ones cited in this survey and others for not implementing DR include:
- Difficulty in getting management buy-in
- Insufficient vendor support should a disaster strike
- Time consuming to properly implement and manage
So what needs to change is how DR is packaged and delivered to SMBs.
The good news is that this transformation is already starting to occur. Existing backup solutions now offer more features that enable SMBs to acquire a backup software solution and get an integrated, viable DR offering that is included.
But what is also occurring is that these solutions do not equally address the concerns outlined above. Some are still too difficult to implement. Others still cost too much. Some still lack a clear-cut plan for support should a disaster strike while others take too much time to properly implement and manage the DR functionality. So to identify a viable DR solution that meets an SMB’s needs for 2012 and beyond, the solution needs to meet the following five requirements.
Five Prerequisites of a Viable DR Solution
1. All-in-One Backup and Recovery. SMBs lack the time and expertise required to purchase and then assemble and configure the hardware and software needed just to deliver on a backup solution, much less a viable DR solution. What they need is a solution that provides them with all of the components they need to quickly move from installation and deployment to operations.
This “all-in-one” backup and recovery solution needs to meet this definition in every respect. It first needs to be available as an appliance with the hardware and backup software preconfigured and integrated to work as one.
The backup software then needs to protect and recover both physical and virtual operating systems. It also should integrate with existing applications to provide recoverable data. Finally, the solution should manage all features from a single, consolidated console to reduce the time required to manage it.
2. Disk-based Backup with Deduplication and Byte-Level Replication. Backup to disk and deduplication have become almost the de facto standards for delivering fast, efficient backups and recoveries. Disk facilitates the fast backup and recovery of data and applications while deduplication minimizes data stored so disk can be cost-effectively used in this role for storing backup data.
Deduplication also serves an important role in making offsite data replication possible. By first reducing data stores, deduplication minimizes the amount of data that needs to be sent over a WAN link.
Byte-level replication further contributes to minimizing WAN traffic by sending only the bytes within a file that have actually changed across the wire. While it is related to deduplication, even within a deduplicated block only some of the bytes may have changed. Using byte-level replication ensures that only those changed bytes are transferred.
3. Multiple Data Replication Options. Replicating data over a WAN link sounds great but there are some practical realities that may preclude SMBs from accomplishing this objective. These include: no secondary site to use as a target; too much data to initially replicate over a WAN link to seed the secondary site; and too much data to retrieve over a WAN link to do a recovery. It is for these reasons that any all-in-one backup and recovery solution needs to offer multiple replication options.
Two specific options it minimally needs to include are options to replicate data to removable disk media or a disk archive and the option to replicate data over a WAN. Replicating data to a removable disk archive avoids the need to send inordinate amounts of data over a WAN link. In this way a remote site may be initially seeded using data on the disk archive or conversely, if a recovery needs to occur, the data may be first copied to a disk archive and then taken to the recovery site. A local disk archive also gives those SMBs without a secondary site the option to replicate data to this disk archive and then physically move it offsite as they have in the past.
However most SMBs are looking to minimize their handling of any type of media (disk or tape) which is why using software to periodically replicate changed data over a WAN link is needed. This keeps the data at a remote site up-to-date while eliminating the need to regularly handle media.
4. No Hidden Software Licensing Fees. One of the historical problems associated with implementing a viable DR solution is deciphering its software licensing costs. Complicating the situation, as SMBs look to implement DR they are likely doing it for the first time. As such, they may not even know what software features they need.
So regardless of the solution they select, the software licensing fees associated with doing the replication associated with DR need to be transparent and simple to understand. This simplicity in software licensing minimizes requests for additional funding to implement needed features. It also gives SMBs the freedom to implement the replication features that they need to execute on their DR initiatives.
5. Vendor Support. This is an intangible that can be hard to measure until a disaster actually occurs. Clearly everyone wants, needs and expects their vendor to help them recover and provide the resources at the time they most need them.
So the level of support needed to perform a recovery will be heavily influenced by how well the solution’s other features are implemented. However if the data has been successfully and consistently replicated, the ability of a vendor to actually support a recovery and provide the resources that are needed is greatly increased.
Those looking to implement a DR solution that addresses these specific needs should look to Revinetix. It provides the all-in-one, disk-based, deduplicating backup and recovery solution that provides the foundation for putting in place a viable DR solution for 2012 and beyond.
To facilitate the implementation of DR, Revinetix provides the multiple replication options that SMBs need to implement DR in their environment with a straight forward and easy to understand licensing plan to match. Further, Revinetix is at the head of the pack as it already has a documented DR support plan in place and publicly posted so anyone can view it.
DR is no longer a pipe dream but an achievable goal for 2012. Further, accomplishing this goal can be done using existing dollars already budgeted for backup solutions. The trick is to spend these dollars wisely and bring in-house an all-in-one solution that takes care of existing backup and recovery requirements while positioning a company to deliver DR.
The Revinetix Sentio all-in-one backup appliance is such a solution. It provides the hardware and software to expedite installs, the consolidated physical and virtual protection that these solutions now need to provide and the replication software, simple licensing fees and support structure that ensure that when DR features are implemented, SMBs will have the confidence they can recover from a disaster should one ever occur.