Flirting with Disaster

IT managers are putting disaster recovery systems to the test-but not for emergencies.

Disaster recovery technology is often like an insurance policy—you get it and pay for it hoping that youll never need it. Many companies, however, are finding new and more numerous ways to leverage the technology thats put into place to deal with disasters large and small.

A great many factors are driving the demand for disaster recovery planning. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, made many IT managers realize that they had to plan for the unimaginable. And, since then, several regulatory compliance mandates—many born from egregious corporate malfeasance—have forced companies to put a variety of new protections in place.

Although some IT shops treat disaster recovery planning and the process of achieving compliance as a chore to be completed as quickly and inexpensively as possible, such a shortsighted approach will yield a pass with compliance auditors and little else. Savvy IT managers, however, can—and, indeed, are—extending disaster recovery and business continuity technology to provide storage consolidation, simplified management and optimized resource utilization.

Disaster recovery planning is a major undertaking that affects not only all the technology used in a company but also all of a companys business units.

Many of the technologies used in disaster recovery implementations are optimized for moving data—not only between primary sites and secondary sites but also among mission-critical applications. eWEEK Labs recently spoke with several IT managers who are using these technologies to protect their companies as well as to wring every last drop of value out of mission-critical data.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to find out how three companies are using disaster recovery technology to advance other business processes.

For example, by taking advantage of transaction-moving technologies, IT managers can feed data from primary mission-critical systems to secondary servers for real-time data analysis and data mining to help managers make more informed decisions .

Storage management consolidation is another potential benefit when implementing new systems for disaster recovery purposes. By reducing the total number of storage systems in a data center and adding a unified management console, IT managers can reduce management costs and deal with problems faster than before.

Consultants, in fact, advocate both server and platform consolidation to simplify the process of disaster recovery. When taking inventory of their IT systems, administrators should target legacy systems and determine if they can be eliminated or need to be moved to standard production systems.

Disaster recovery consultants encourage the use of performance analysis tools to find the base-line performance of production systems during normal times and determine how much hardware will be needed at a recovery site to provide acceptable performance after a disaster. Using the same performance analysis data, IT managers can also find out, for example, if they have application bottlenecks.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about how consultants can help determine if your data is protected.

Disasters dont discriminate, and small companies are as vulnerable as large companies. However, small companies may not have the same resources to plan for and recover from problems.

Coming to small and midsize companies rescue are service providers that enable backup to a remote data repository and data restoration for a relatively low price. By using these services, IT managers can ensure that if their business succumbs to a disaster, data will be safe and ready when the business gets back on its feet.

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