Availability, recovery and archive

Published on December 2016 | Categories: Documents | Downloads: 70 | Comments: 0 | Views: 254
of 7
Download PDF   Embed   Report



Availability, recovery and archive
Understanding the nuances of the different approaches required to provide an organisation with a complete business continuity and recovery strategy at a systems and information level.
October 2012

Changes in how technology can be implemented and improvements in connectivity mean that business continuity and rapid systems recovery is now within the reach of many more organisations. Combined with granular information recovery, organisations should now be looking at creating a multi-level strategy to ensure not only survival, but also on-going business capabilities through any impact on the technical platform.

Clive Longbottom Quocirca Ltd Tel : +44 118 948 3360 Email: [email protected]

Bob Tarzey Quocirca Ltd Tel: +44 1753 855794 Email: [email protected]

Copyright Quocirca © 2012

Availability, recovery and archive

Availability, recovery and archive
Understanding the nuances of the different approaches required to provide an organisation with a complete business continuity and recovery strategy at a systems and information level. Information availability is all about ensuring that the information a person needs is available – Business continuity, and this can be provided through high availability data storage. Business continuity is about disaster recovery and ensuring that business functions continue through any predictable impact on an IT platform. information Disaster recovery is there to bring a system back to a working position so as provide a capability for business to continue within agreed timescales. Each has its part to play in an organisation’s availability are strategy – but they should not be confused. different issues Any strategy has to fit in with an organisation’s risk profile Full, real-time mirroring of systems is no longer needed in many cases Granularity of information recovery is essential
Aiming for complete business continuity will, in most cases, be too expensive for an organisation to afford, and things will always go wrong, so strategy needs to be based on acceptable risk. However, a well-crafted disaster recovery strategy, based on well-defined and managed recovery time and point objectives (RTO/RPO), can provide sufficient support for organisations that meets defined corporate risk profiles. By using data replication across different storage systems, data availability can be made near real-time. Although not as seamless as full data mirroring, data replication is cheaper and, with modern techniques, can still provide a disaster recovery approach that delivers the capability to be back up and running in a matter of minutes, which is sufficient for a majority of organisations. Many cloud providers will offer managed backup and replication of data based on taking images and snapshots of the stored data. However, unless this can be managed at a granular level such a solution may bring more problems with it. For example, the accidental deletion of a single file by a user should not result in a whole data image having to be recovered – the single file should be able to be extracted easily from the managed backup. Attempting to put in place a strategy around business continuity and disaster recovery in-house is no longer the best way forward for many organisations. Simple access to cloud-based providers who can provide the elasticity of platform along with the economies of scale of sharing enterprise levels of disaster recovery, business continuity information availability and archiving means that using such external systems can be far more applicable to the business and deployed without breaking the bank. Many organisations that believe they have everything covered through an expensive business continuity plan find themselves completely out of action when a major disaster occurs, such as a natural disaster. Quocirca recommends that any business continuity plan is backed up with a suitable disaster recovery plan – and if the business has previously indicated that business continuity is important, then the disaster recovery plan must aim for very short recovery time objectives.

The cloud offers the best approach for a strategic plan

Business continuity will still need a disaster recovery plan behind it

Conclusions New technology architectures, including virtualisation and cloud computing, mean that services that only used to be afforded by the largest, most cash-rich organisations are now within the reach of organisations of all sizes. For those wanting a cost-effective, near real-time disaster recovery capability that is ‘close enough’ to full business continuity, a combined virtualised image and replicated storage solution through an external cloud provider will meet their needs.

© Quocirca 2012


Availability, recovery and archive

Something has happened and your users no longer have access to the applications and services hosted in the data centre. What do you do? It used to be a case of getting all the users to move from their desks to a remote office where a system would be recovered as rapidly as possible so that work could continue. Transactions would be lost, costs would be high, and the outcome and the recovered position would not be known until the first person managed to log back onto the system. Such an occurrence would generally have lasting impact on the business as it struggled to reconcile outstanding transactions and then had to synchronise the recovery site with the live site once that had been rebuilt. Luckily, this is now changing. Through the use of virtualisation, the cloud and widely available connectivity, organisations are presented with a range of options when it comes to dealing with business continuity, disaster recovery and information availability. This short report looks at the options available and gives recommendations on what organisations should look for when creating a strategy to deal with technical impacts on data availability.

Business continuity, disaster recovery, information availability and archive
It is important to understand the basic differences between the options that an organisation should consider when it comes to dealing with technical impacts, as each option has its own costs and benefits. It is only through ensuring that the overall systems availability strategy matches with the organisation’s own risk profile that a suitable solution can be put in place. For an organisation to be able to create a suitable business continuity/disaster recovery strategy, it first must understand some of the metrics involved. The two main performance measurements here are: Recovery Time Objective (RTO) The recovery time objective is the agreed length of time between an IT event occurring that impacts the business and the IT systems being back in a position for use. Whereas this used to be measured in working days or, for highcriticality business systems, working hours, the general demand is now for RTO to be measured in hours to minutes. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) The recovery point objective is an agreement between the business and IT for what point in the system’s history to recover to. Again, historically, this tended to be to the previous set of tape backups, which would generally be the night before the event, but is more often now based on using data snapshotting and store-and-forward messaging buses, and should be more capable of being measured in terms of a few lost transactions. It is key that these two performance measurements are agreed between the business and IT – and whoever is managing the business continuity/disaster recovery strategy.

© Quocirca 2012


Availability, recovery and archive
If the organisation is certain that the RTO has to be zero, then full business continuity is the only way forward. However, if the RTO can be even as much as 1 minute, then a near real-time disaster recovery approach is possible in some cases. For many organisations, a total downtime of up to 10 minutes will be acceptable in realistic terms, and this means that a well-implemented disaster recovery approach, using virtualisation and data replication, becomes a very cost effective strategy. There are distinct differences between business continuity and disaster recovery, and it is also important to understand where information availability and archiving fit into the overall picture as well. Business continuity The aim with business continuity is to ensure that business activities can continue to some level during a technical impact. This may be at a lower response rate, may be based on prioritising what workloads can continue running or may be based on filtering access to applications and services by profiling connections, but at least the business is still running. This requires different approaches, depending on how much assurance of business continuity is required. For example, failure of a physical component can be dealt with through ‘n+1’ provisioning of the component, such as having two power supplies or network interface cards in a server. To survive server failure, then n+1 servers would be required, either through clustering or virtualisation. When a failure of a power distribution system may be involved, a whole rack or row of a data centre may be impacted, in which case the capability for mirroring applications and data in real time across different physical environments may be required. Should a disaster happen that impacts the complete facility, then business continuity can only be maintained through mirroring those aspects of the data centre deemed to be critical to another facility away from the main site. As can be seen, much of this leads to high expense – and is out of reach for many organisations to implement and pay for in their own data centres, or even to use in an outsourced model across multiple external data centres. Disaster recovery Disaster recovery is where there is a break in being able to maintain business activities. Here, a failure of a component or system means that users can no longer access the systems, and that action is required in order to be able to get the systems back on line. Virtualisation has helped here, in that virtual images can be kept of applications and, on the failure of an image, a new one can be rapidly provisioned – generally in seconds or minutes – and can then use the same data storage that the previous image was using. The failure could be at a virtual or a physical level, but provided that the platform is suitably architected, getting back to a position where the application is available again should now be relatively easy. Information availability Information availability falls between the two stools of business continuity and disaster recovery. It can be seen as a separate entity, but is key to how business continuity and disaster recovery work. In many cases, the business applications are still available, but the data is not, due to corruption, failure of a storage system or network issues. Previously, organisations had to mitigate the issue by carrying out data backups to tape systems as and when they could. This was cheap, as it meant that expensive disk was not being loaded with data that may never need to be touched ever again. However, it was slow and was riddled with possible problems such as tape failure on restore, the lack of granularity in being able to recover a single file and the need for IT to be involved with all restore requests. Increasingly, the cost of disk storage has decreased, and backup technology has improved to the level where approaches such as data de-duplication (dedupe) can reduce the amount of information needed to be stored by up to 80%, and snapshot technologies can lead to data being backed up on an almost continuous basis.

© Quocirca 2012


Availability, recovery and archive
Many systems now come with a simple-to-use front end that enables end users to recover single files. This is not only to deal with the problems of files that have become corrupted or have been deleted by accident by the user, but also for a user to be able to recover a file that may have been overwritten by a more recent version of the file that the user then decides is not the version they need. Archive There is a lot of difference between information that has to be backed up so that it can be recovered rapidly and information that needs to be archived for governance or compliance needs. Archived information may never need to be touched again – or may need to be recovered as evidence in cases where an employee or customer raises issues in how they have been dealt with, or where a government or legal body issues a request for information disclosure. In the majority of cases, it will not be cost effective to attempt to store such information on disk, and it is here that tape still holds its value as a storage medium. The aim for any organisation is to come up with an application and data management strategy that meets their business risk needs while balancing the overall costs that need to be expended. Bear in mind that even where the business insists on a full business continuity approach, a disaster can happen that renders the BC approach null and void, such as a larger geographic power failure or a natural disaster such as an earthquake or major storm. Quocirca advises that any BC strategy should be backed up by a suitable DR strategy – and for those organisations that believe that BC is important to them, the more near real-time the DR strategy has to be.

Quocirca recommends the following 7-step approach be followed when looking for a suitable BC/DR strategy: 1. 2. 3. Firstly, agree whether a business continuity or a disaster recovery primary support model is best suited for the business, based on what is deemed an acceptable level of downtime is for the business. Agree what realistic RTO and RPO levels must be set. Have IT investigate suitable solutions and report back to the business based around the value, risk and cost of each approach, in business terms. Bear in mind that on-premise systems may not be able to provide the levels of support required. Ensure that the application, storage and data levels are covered in developing a plan a. For applications, aim for a virtual machine strategy. For business continuity, ‘hot’ images, where there is a stand-by image already running and a capability to elegantly fail over from one image to another, will be required. For disaster recovery, ‘cold’ images based on stored application and software stack images can be used, which will require provisioning before use. b. For storage, for full business continuity, live data mirroring will be required – which may be too costly. For near real-time disaster recovery, data replication across different data stores will be required. c. For data availability, ensure that data is managed in a granular level, providing not just image backup and restore, but also single file level recovery. For longer term archival storage, make sure that information is stored in the right form (disk or tape) in a secure, separate environment. Use data cleansing technologies, such as dedupe, in order to minimise the amount of data under management. Ensure that tools and/or dashboards are available to be able to monitor and report on how well the chosen solution meets the business’ requirements. Review the strategy on a regular basis to ensure that the business’ needs are continuously being met.


5. 6. 7.

© Quocirca 2012


About Blue Chip
Blue Chip delivers creative IT solutions from its Tier 4 designed data centre. Together with the traditional range of managed services including hosting, collocation and IaaS, Blue Chip also delivers on demand backup and disaster recovery solutions. Blue Chip’s on demand solution for data recovery replaces the need for traditional business continuity and backups with a service that is designed to align with your business objectives and forms part of BAU. The requirements and needs of your organisation are defined by your RTO/RPO – from this we are able to tailor a solution that will meet your timescales in the event of a failure or disaster. The flexibility of an on demand system ensures that you can easily flex, grow and expand the service as your business grows and changes. Recovery times can be anything from minutes up to hours depending upon the business needs. Each process or service provided by the organisation may require a different recovery time and, with our on demand solution, this is possible. The benefits of this solution include:       Cost efficiencies Faster data recovery Higher security Consolidation of suppliers Access from any location Invocation at any time for any reason

This solution also benefits from the full range of services provided by our Tier 4 designed data centre:     Highly secure premises Onsite Network Operation Centre Systems monitoring solutions Onsite engineers and remote hands

Regardless of whether you are transitioning from an internal system, third party or vendor solution, Blue Chip’s project management team provides specific implementation resources to ensure everything runs smoothly and to plan. Post transition, a dedicated Service Delivery Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the solution. Blue Chip can be contacted at: Blue Chip Customer Engineering Ltd Franklin Court Priory Business Park Bedford MK44 3JZ UK Tel : +44 (0)1234 224400 Fax : +44 (0)1234 831580 Email : [email protected]

Availability, recovery and archive

REPORT NOTE: This report has been written independently by Quocirca Ltd to provide an overview of the issues facing organisations seeking to maximise the effectiveness of today’s dynamic workforce. The report draws on Quocirca’s extensive knowledge of the technology and business arenas, and provides advice on the approach that organisations should take to create a more effective and efficient environment for future growth.

About Quocirca
Quocirca is a primary research and analysis company specialising in the business impact of information technology and communications (ITC). With world-wide, native language reach, Quocirca provides in-depth insights into the views of buyers and influencers in large, mid-sized and small organisations. Its analyst team is made up of real-world practitioners with first-hand experience of ITC delivery who continuously research and track the industry and its real usage in the markets. Through researching perceptions, Quocirca uncovers the real hurdles to technology adoption – the personal and political aspects of an organisation’s environment and the pressures of the need for demonstrable business value in any implementation. This capability to uncover and report back on the end-user perceptions in the market enables Quocirca to provide advice on the realities of technology adoption, not the promises. Quocirca research is always pragmatic, business orientated and conducted in the context of the bigger picture. ITC has the ability to transform businesses and the processes that drive them, but often fails to do so. Quocirca’s mission is to help organisations improve their success rate in process enablement through better levels of understanding and the adoption of the correct technologies at the correct time.

Quocirca has a pro-active primary research programme, regularly surveying users, purchasers and resellers of ITC products and services on emerging, evolving and maturing technologies. Over time, Quocirca has built a picture of long term investment trends, providing invaluable information for the whole of the ITC community. Quocirca works with global and local providers of ITC products and services to help them deliver on the promise that ITC holds for business. Quocirca’s clients include Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, O2, T-Mobile, HP, Xerox, EMC, Symantec and Cisco, along with other large and medium-sized vendors, service providers and more specialist firms. Details of Quocirca’s work and the services it offers can be found at http://www.quocirca.com Disclaimer: This report has been written independently by Quocirca Ltd. During the preparation of this report, Quocirca has used a number of sources for the information and views provided. Although Quocirca has taken what steps it can to ensure that the information provided in this report is true and reflects real market conditions, Quocirca cannot take any responsibility for the ultimate reliability of the details presented. Therefore, Quocirca expressly disclaims all warranties and claims as to the validity of the data presented here, including any and all consequential losses incurred by any organisation or individual taking any action based on such data and advice. All brand and product names are recognised and acknowledged as trademarks or service marks of their respective holders.

Sponsor Documents

Or use your account on DocShare.tips


Forgot your password?

Or register your new account on DocShare.tips


Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Back to log-in