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BLOG: Riding through the chaos

P.K. Gupta | Jan. 9, 2012
When catastrophe strikes, chaos is the only constant. However, having information on hand is crucial as organisations need to assure customers and stakeholders of the integrity of data.

The business landscape has changed drastically over the last 15 years. With new technologies emerging, this change has left businesses more vulnerable to disasters, in some new and surprising ways. 

Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are not new topics. In fact, they have been around for a long time. In the past, vendors including EMC were more likely to talk to customers about business continuance solutions. While CIOs and business leaders understood the importance of business continuance, they were not widely implemented. At the same time, the industry on the whole was trying to avoid referencing the term "disaster" and did not wish to be perceived as selling insurance.

However, after September 11, devastating terrorist attacks have gone from being remote possibilities to frightening realities - and bring with them much larger impacts that businesses need to be prepared to handle. It became important to be precise in understanding all of the technologies and options available for both disaster recovery and for business continuance.

In recent years/months, our region also went through many major natural disasters such as the floods in Australia, earthquake in New Zealand, tsunami in Japan to the recent floods in Thailand. These have heightened enterprises' urgency and need for a recovery plan.

One may, however, argue that the disasters that we are facing today are not anything more frequent than what we have always been experiencing. In fact, less than one percent of outages are caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. So why the urgency now?

The reality is, we are now more vulnerable because businesses are more dependent on their technology infrastructure.  Over 96 percent of data is in digital form in organisations. Moreover, due to the greater extent of business infrastructure located across the globe, businesses must think about protecting themselves from an increased disaster threat.

Before deploying a disaster recovery plan, enterprises would have to evaluate and identify the most appropriate configuration for their business needs.

The key to determining the best replication solution is a thorough understanding of service levels. Organisations need to balance business requirements for performance, functionality, availability, and economics against capacity needs, bandwidth requirements, and overall total cost of ownership.

Every solution has benefits and risks, and you probably want to balance all of these factors in order to decide on the best solution-be it for daily backup and recovery or remote data replication for application consistency and disaster recovery and restart. In the end, the need typically lies in assuring application consistency and recovery. Application consistency and recovery are important for sustaining business operations-and, not surprisingly, they are also some of the top challenges I am hearing from both customers and analysts.


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