As we've seen in recent years, natural disasters can lead to long-term downtime for organizations. Because earthquakes, hurricanes, snow storms, or other events can put data centers and other corporate facilities out of commission for a while, it's vital that companies have in place a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.
Disaster recovery (DR) is a subset of business continuity (BC), and like BC, it's being influenced by some of the key trends in the IT industry, foremost among them:
- Cloud services
- Server and desktop virtualization
- The proliferation of mobile devices in the workforce
- The growing popularity of social networking as a business tool
[ Also on InfoWorld: Paul Venezia has more tips on how to stay connected when disaster strikes. | InfoWorld's Disaster Recovery Deep Dive Report walks you through all the steps in anticipating and handling worst-case scenarios. Download it today! | Keep up with key security issues with InfoWorld's Security Adviser blog and Security Central newsletter. ]
These trends are forcing many organizations to rethink how they plan, test, and execute their DR strategies. CSO previously looked at how these trends are specifically affecting IT business continuity; as with BC, much of the impact they are having on DR is for the better. Still, IT and security executives need to consider how these developments can best be leveraged so that they improve, rather than complicate, DR efforts.
Here's a look at how these four trends are having an impact on IT disaster recovery.
As organizations use more internal and external cloud services, they're finding that these resources can become part of a disaster recovery strategy.
Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., provides numerous private cloud services to internal users and customers. It also hosts services for 17 school districts and large enterprise clients.
"The cloud configuration allows us to perform software upgrades across the multiple tenant systems quickly, easily and without disruptions," says Bill Thirsk, vice president of IT and CIO at the college.
"Because our storage is virtualized, we can replicate data across SANs that we have placed strategically on our campus in numerous locations and in our data center [in Syracuse, N.Y.]. A loss of a SAN means only that production operations switches over to another."
Because Marist can perform server-level backups across partitions, it can move data from one server platform to another should an event occur, Thirsk says.
There's big potential value in cloud-based DR services, says Rachel Dines, senior analyst, Infrastructure & Operations, at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.