Explore the fundamental problems with most DR solutions

It’s a controversial statement to make but there are fundamental problems with the majority of IT disaster recovery solutions. The benefit of having an IT disaster recovery provider is that they will minimise your downtime, for a price. But how effective are they at minimising your downtime and at what price?

If you opt for a disaster recovery company that recovers your systems for you following an incident then you may end up frustrated with the impact an IT disaster will have on your business. The reason being, it’s very difficult to recover a system quickly from a set of backups or snapshot images. Traditional disaster recovery providers are glorified backup companies, with resource that is able to rebuild your systems should you have an IT disaster. This is all very well, but ‘return to service’ time is not certain and often takes days. You’ll be promised a recovery time of around 4 hours; however what you’re not told is that for many providers ‘recovery time’ has a very different meaning to ‘return to service’. Our advice is that it is well worth asking your provider to confirm your own ‘return to service time’ and who is responsible for achieving it. DR companies find ‘recovery’ fairly straightforward – loading the software and data onto your recovery system and then booting it up and seeing the applications working is practiced regularly. At this point your DR provider will say you have been recovered and your recovery time objective will have been met.

However, what happens next is the bit you don’t see. When the consistency of the applications are tested there will be somewhere from tens to hundreds of errors. Although your system is ‘recovered’, users will encounter applications that need reconfiguring and the errors need working through before they can be used. Until this is all rectified your business is at a standstill. This means productivity is going to be significantly impacted until ‘return to service’ is reached – where the systems are back to their original, pre-disaster state. Return to service can take days, relying on hours of engineering time, and all the while productivity is affected. So, you can start to see why disaster recovery companies using back up technology may not be the best option.

But what are the alternatives? The high capital and maintenance cost of hot or warm standby have limited the viability of this option to just the enterprise sector traditionally. It offers the best protection for your business because your systems don’t need recovering, however it requires a second set of systems, with the maintenance and testing costs that come with it. Gartner stated that a disaster recovery test costs upwards of £15,000, making the whole solution somewhat unaffordable for the SME market.

Luckily there is now an alternative that offers the performance of hot standby for the price of disaster recovery, and it’s all in Pre-recovery. Automation and cloud computing has allowed IT systems to be recovered daily in advance, tested and certified to work similar to a hot standby, but in a virtual environment. With automation added to the mix the monthly costs are aligned with those of traditional disaster recovery methods. Instant recovery, guaranteed for the price of traditional disaster recovery.

For more information go to www.planb.co.uk