10 Important Enterprise Disaster Recovery Tips for IT Managers

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10 Important Enterprise Disaster Recovery Tips for IT Managers

by Chris Preimesberger

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Plan for Enterprise-Class Capacity Requirements

The volume of data continues to grow exponentially. The most efficient and cost-effective disaster recovery strategy is to use a solution that can back up and store petabytes of data on a single system. This can be achieved by using an enterprise-class virtual tape library with data deduplication. By doing so, you can save significant administrative cost by enabling a single administrator to manage tens of petabytes of data.

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Pay as You Grow

When organizations reach the upper limits of their system's capacity or performance, they are forced to purchase an entirely new tape library or disk system. They have to purchase much more performance or capacity than they will need for many months or years. A better strategy is to choose a system that lets you add disk shelves for more capacity or add processing nodes for more performance as you need it.

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Plan Flexibility into Your System

To stay competitive in today's business environment, enterprise data centers need to adapt quickly to respond to changing IT needs, including mergers, acquisitions, new regulatory requirements and changing business continuity requirements. Choose a solution that works with mainframe, open systems and mixed environments and that enables you to add, reduce or change virtual devices (virtual drives and libraries) as you need to.

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Make Sure You Can Meet Recovery Time Objectives

Backing up data quickly and efficiently is only half the story. An effective disaster recovery strategy requires that you meet efficient recovery time objectives. However, many technologies, including disk-based solutions, make restoring data slow and cumbersome. Ask whether you can restore through any port and whether you can restore deduplicated data without "reassembly."

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Monitor Changing Requirements

Choose a virtual tape library system that lets IT analyze capacity growth and performance efficiency over time to give an accurate prediction of future requirements. Detailed reporting of backup growth, deduplication efficiency and capacity requirements is essential to eliminate over-buying, while ensuring you have sufficient resources to meet your needs.

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Aim to Reduce Operating Expenses for IT Administrators

Moving to a disk-based backup solution will eliminate a variety of repetitive manual tape media management tasks. However, without careful planning and the right technology choice, these tasks may just be replaced with potentially more time-consuming disk subsystem management activities, such as load balancing, capacity allocation and system optimization. Choose a system that automates disk management and monitoring and provides detailed system status to drive down IT admin time.

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Know Your Bandwidth Requirements

Enterprises need to move large volumes of data off-site for disaster protection. Copying data to physical tape is a typical option, but it is slow, manual and risk-prone. Consider a solution that cuts the bandwidth requirements of a replicated backup by deduplicating data and replicating only new data and pointers to existing data. These systems also enable you to transmit data in its un-deduplicated form-if you choose.

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Test Early and Often

To reduce risk, a disaster recovery program must include a complete test of systems, procedures and processes in as realistic a manner as possible. This testing has to be structured to identify weaknesses in data movement, network delays, bandwidth limits and potential human errors to ensure that applications and data can be restored within acceptable RTO targets.

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Demand Reliability

Your data protection environment should be equipped with fully redundant power and cooling, and SATA disk storage systems should be protected with at least RAID 6. Ensure key software applications and/or any indices or tables are on redundant, internally mirrored drives.

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Protect Your Investment

Choose a solution that is minimally disruptive to your current environment and will enable you to repurpose existing equipment. For example, use existing tape libraries as archival systems.

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