Recovery time objective and recovery point objective in disaster recovery planning

Jacob Gsoedl

Recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO)

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are the key metrics to determine the disaster recovery (DR) level required to recover business processes and applications. They are reciprocally proportional to the cost of disaster recovery: The closer RTO and RPO are to zero, the more expensive DR provisioning will be. If the recovery time takes days or even weeks, costs will likely be significantly less.

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Determining the necessary recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives is the most important exercise a business needs to perform to ensure the cost-effective level of disaster recovery. RTOs and RPOs are derived in two ways: through the analysis of business processes and applications, which determines the value of business processes, and the anticipated financial impact if they become unavailable.

Obviously, this varies greatly by business process and application. "While for just-in-time manufacturing, the critical threshold may be 15 minutes, it could be days for a marketing application," said George Ferguson, worldwide service segment manager for Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.'s business continuity and recovery services.

Determining recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives can be an iterative process because of two competing forces: available budget and required recovery objectives. "The challenge of contingency services like disaster recovery is to find the right balance between available budget and what's required to sustain the business," said Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO Group, Stillwater, Minn.

This article originally appeared in Storage magazine.

About this author: Jacob Gsoedl is a frequent contributor to "Storage" magazine.

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