Darrell Riddle is senior director of product marketing at FalconStor Software. He is a professional with more than 23 years of experience in product management, marketing, product integration, engineering, quality assurance and IT management.
Data and IT services are the lifeblood of every company. Data center professionals must ensure that there is reliable, continuous access to data, applications and IT services. When one of the servers, applications or the entire data center goes down, the effects are felt at every level of the company. Employees are unproductive from the loss of email and essential applications, which leads to ignored customer inquiries. The help desk is slammed with calls from employees demanding to know why their computers have stopped working. And of course, every person is working on the most important project of the year.
No one wants to receive these calls, or worse yet face company executives who watch over their shoulders impatiently for the data and IT services to be back online. The best method for avoiding this scenario is to view your data center as a collection of services, which includes all the applications, systems, servers and data. Once these IT services are identified, it is simpler to determine which are the most essential services and then implement data protection and disaster recovery (DR) solutions that will result in highly available systems and infrastructure resiliency.
One way to look at the data center is that the basic definition of IT resiliency is how quickly your data center can recover from an issue or a disaster. Although you may be able to plan for natural events such as hurricanes and snowstorms, disasters can really strike at any time and in any place. You don’t get advance warnings for the majority of these disasters stemming from human error or malicious acts. It could be a simple mistake, like an employee plugging in a space heater that ultimately leads to the demise of your precious data center. It may sound simple to solve this problem by identifying your essential IT services and then implementing data protection and DR solutions, but today’s complex data center infrastructure doesn’t make it easy.
Hybrid environments with physical and virtual servers, cloud-based applications and different network connectivity all affect the process. This plan is like an insurance policy, keeping IT downtime to an absolute minimum. Reports show that on average, companies state that they can afford four hours or less of unplanned downtime. But why settle for unplanned downtime at all? These situations not only impact the overall productivity of a company, but harm its reputation and incur financial losses as well – all issues a company wants to be sure to avoid.
Traditional methods of DR and data protection are no longer enough to keep your data center running 24/7. These methods do not work properly with today’s complex IT environments. Replication and image-based backup technologies provide some level of protection, but do not always capture the complete complexity of the latest IT services. Data centers are turning to technologies such as continuous data protection, de-duplication, replication and automated disaster recovery solutions to effectively build IT resiliency and minimize unplanned downtime. Continuous data protection technologies allow companies to take snapshots of data within the data center, backup this data more often and replicate it to an offsite data center, reducing data loss to almost zero.
Automated DR takes all the complicated steps and automates the entire data services recovery process, restoring IT services within minutes, rather than hours or even days. Automated DR solutions allow data centers to fully test how complete IT services may be restored prior to an issue. This testing allows you to sleep better at night knowing that even if something is unplugged during the cleaning crew’s visit, the data center can get back up and running with just a single click of the mouse. The combination of continuous data protection and automated DR is the insurance policy that your precious data needs.
Data center managers' jobs are more complicated today due to today’s complex IT infrastructures and demands for 24/7 availability of data and applications. Through grouping the data center into collections of IT services and implementing effective insurance policies against downtime and data loss, you are proactively taking the steps to prevent future data loss and downtime. The IT resiliency and insurance plan will make you the hero of the company.
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