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Toigo: How replication impacts disaster prep

Disasters may be harrowing, but most of the time they can be predictable, short-lived struggles, according to DR expert Jon Toigo, CEO and managing principal of analyst firm Toigo Partners International. However, organizations need to take disaster prep seriously in order to have a better chance of recovering operations.

"We're talking about the widespread disasters," Toigo said at a recent Storage Decisions presentation. "The good news is that they're less than 5% of the outage events that impact organizations."

Toigo said 95% of disaster events are small, such as damaged equipment, software bugs and malware attacks. The problem is major disasters -- while far less frequent than software or hardware problems -- aren't confined to borders on a map. "We are seeing increased activity and greater ferocity in the events that occur that are natural events," said Toigo, pointing to the scope of Hurricane Sandy as an example.

He said companies based in New York City faced flooding and noted a firm that almost lost its disaster recovery data center about 100 miles away in Philadelphia in the same storm.

Toigo also said terror attacks like 9/11 can pose threats to organizations that keep their backup data centers too close. He said, had a dirty bomb been used that day, the radiation could have destroyed the New Jersey data centers used by the financial industry.

He noted that in order to have a backup data center available for disaster prep, it may mean giving up having synchronous replication with a primary site.

"You go out 70 kilometers, and beyond that, you have to go asynchronous," said Toigo, referring to technological limitations of synchronous replication. "You're going to start accruing delay. If you want real-time replication as the [underpinnings] of your failover high-availability strategy, you're talking one side of London to the other side."

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