When evaluating disaster recovery (DR) technologies, tactics and processes, organizations often perceive the investment as analogous to a life insurance policy: DR will allow the company to get back on its feet if a disaster strikes its primary data center. The analogy is not entirely wrong. After all, that is one of the functions DR technologies provide.
However, DR can be much more than life insurance. A better analogy, and one that is more likely to lead to judicious DR investment decisions, is health insurance. While DR technologies do help organizations recover data and operations after a calamity strikes, they can also provide the means to maintain the health of a company's information systems on an ongoing basis.
Virtually all companies maintain some level of IT disaster preparedness. In many cases, particularly in small and medium-size businesses, this consists solely of backing up data to tapes nightly and shipping the tapes off-site. Then, if the worst happens, data and operations can be restored from the tapes at a different location if necessary.
This traditional tape-based approach is responsible for the life insurance metaphor. Because of the time and human resources required to recover data from tape, tape-based recovery is typically used only when there is no alternative. Thus, tape-based backups generally do offer little more than what is suggested by the life insurance metaphor-they normally pay out their benefit only when the worst happens.