Last year was the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. It would be easy to say that nuclear disasters wouldn’t happen near your business but the reality is this disaster was the result of human error, which occurs in all industries and businesses. Chernobyl was and remains a dramatic and impactful example of a disaster that can have long-lasting effects. However, in recent years, the diversity of incident types that can lead to disasters has changed enormously. Therefore, the need to plan, prepare, and practice has added significance.
In today’s world there are three types of disasters - internal (accidents, system crashes), external (flooding, tornado) and tragic (terrorist attacks, pandemic health issues, organized cyber-crime hacking). Since businesses rely so heavily on technology from an operational standpoint to maintain their “money pump”, it’s imperative to understand what would happen if your system, either in part or wholly, was unavailable because of a disaster. Businesses must know how their “money pump” is impacted when systems are down.
In the olden days, disaster recovery plans were expensive, time consuming and error prone. In the beginning, there was off-site tape backup. Many of these types of plans were written as one-time failover processes that excluded the crucial step of returning to the production site once it had been reestablished. This system only allowed for an all or nothing type of DR plan. The only option for businesses was to replicate and store everything
Then came virtualization.
Disaster Recovery became much more cost effective and included a much faster recovery time for information technology based assets and processes. Virtualization allowed a business to consolidate its equipment requiring less up-front capital costs. However, companies still had to buy the SANs and the software to put on them and then pay to send the data between two SANs. Most companies couldn’t afford to do real-time replication so they were limited to just nightly snapshots or their data. In addition to production costs, virtualization still had “people” cost. People were still doing the physical work in a virtualized world which left disaster recovery vulnerable to things like human error. Once a company was virtualized, disaster recovery became more cost effective than previously, but not all companies could afford the upfront costs associated with virtualization. This system did come with some flexibility though. Businesses could choose which applications they wanted to replicate and store rather than having to do their entire system.
Fast forward to today, where most everyone is using a virtualized cloud environment in some way to do business. Technology can now offer disaster recovery in the virtualized cloud environment through disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). DRaaS is a much more granular approach to disaster recovery and it provides near real time data replication, allowing very timely recovery points. Businesses can finely tune the costs and performance of their DR platform by picking single machines to replicate instead of groups of machines and by utilizing an agnostic storage system. DRaaS has effectively lowered the bar for many more companies to be able to provide a comprehensive DR plan for their entire IT infrastructure.