Toigo: Focus DR strategy on smaller-scale disasters

According to Jon Toigo, chief executive officer of Toigo Partners International, companies should focus their disaster recovery (DR) strategy on manageable, smaller-scale disasters like disk-drive failures, and not what Toigo refers to as the "CNN stuff" like tsunamis and tornadoes.

"That's all important stuff, but it's not what I focus on in disaster recovery. First of all, it's depressing, because you know as well as I do that it engenders a sense that there's nothing that you or I could ever possibly do that will ever recover our organizations from a calamity like that," said Toigo. "What I'm concerned most about is this stuff. We're storing an awful lot of data on spinning rust disk drives."

Toigo cited studies conducted by Google and Carnegie Mellon University that suggest that the annual failure rate of disk drives is higher than reported. And multiple disk failures can lead to a "potential career-limiting situation."

He noted in his Storage Decisions presentation that the average cost of data center downtime is about $5,600 per minute, and an average of 2.5 data centers have complete outages every 24 months, while an average of 6.8 data centers experience a partial outage in the same time frame. A power outage alone can pose problems if you're not prepared.

"Power outages shut down your data center if you haven't got the capability to sustain yourself on batteries or by some other means during that time. And [the] average duration of power outages -- one hour, 46 minutes -- that's on average across the country," Toigo said.

And when systems go down, staffers may not be able to do their jobs. That's when you need a DR strategy.

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