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Justifying the cost of virtual disaster recovery

Do you have any tips for selling the value of virtualization for disaster recovery (DR) to your executive team, knowing the initial ROI is going to be negative as Damon and Cormac mention in this article on using virtualization for disaster recovery.

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The views from the two authors seem to focus on training and awareness activities as an ROI issue when getting IT staff up to speed on virtualization. That's a good point, but not the only one. Here are my tips for selling virtual disaster recovery:


  1. Virtualization provides a way to move critical information to a safe, presumably off-premise location with minimal added expense, using reclaimed hardware.
  2. Consider using managed business continuity(BC)/DR services instead of in-house arrangements, as many outside suppliers use virtualized infrastructures.
  3. Take baby steps with regard to BC/DR activities: Start by reusing reclaimed infrastructure from virtualization efforts and set up a small backup arrangement for non-mission-critical systems and data.
  4. With more experience, consider migrating to a balanced strategy combining in-house DR along with an external solution (e.g., managed BC/DR services) to create a cost-effective solution. As your in-house expertise grows, reduce your dependence on (and investments in) external suppliers

Your goal should be to create a staged, evolutionary strategy for BC/DR that supports DR needs, is flexible and adaptable to changing (or unplanned) needs, and can evolve into a single- or multi-element solution using virtualization technology as a key underpinning.


This was first published in January 2011

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