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Disaster recovery second thoughts

Advice on how to plan a DR solution and at the same time, improve upon current storage infrastructure.

Disaster recovery second thoughts
By Alan Earls

Particularly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on America, disaster recovery (DR) moved to the top of many IT organizations' agendas. But analysts like Arun Taneja of Enterprise Storage Group, Inc., Milford, Mass., warn that organizations may be making mistakes in their rush to shore up the security of their storage systems.

"My concern is that IT professionals suddenly have so much pressure on them to deliver a DR solution, that they will implement a kludge on top of what they have today," says Taneja. He argues that if an organization's current infrastructure is weak -- such as all DAS, primitive storage management, no redundancies built-in, no clustering, poor backup methodologies, etc. -- then simply tagging DR investments on top is like building a skyscraper over a poor foundation. "My point on storage infrastructure is that a good DR plan is simply one aspect of a well-designed storage infrastructure," he adds.

Jamie Gruener, an analyst at Boston-based Yankee Group, Inc., shares Taneja's concern. "The bottom line," he says, is that "regardless of your situation, you need to do a return-on-investment analysis as with any investment. It is almost Business 101."

Specifically, Gruener says that while disaster recovery may have received insufficient attention in the past, vendors are now "labeling anything that moves as a disaster recovery solution." In fact, he notes, a top-down needs analysis will generally reveal that not all data needs to be 100 percent available. "There may even be some data that you can lose without really harming your business," he adds. Without clearly understanding those business issues, he says, technology decisions may be flawed.

Instead of accepting piecemeal solutions, Taneja advises storage pros to revisit storage infrastructure issues from scratch, and use the CEO-level attention they are getting to fix the real issues along with implementing a DR plan. "Right now, IT can ask for just about anything from management, making it a great time to fix problems for the long term," he says.

About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer residing in Franklin, Mass.

Additional Resources:
1. Which of my storage systems need five-9 availability?
Independent storage trainer and consultant Marc Staimer shared great insights on how to determine which of your storage systems warrant an investment to achieve 99.999 percent availability. View some of his Webcast highlights and his presentation in this Featured Topic on Achieving High Availability.

2. What do I need to know to keep downtime to a minimum?
What are the most up-to-date and dependable techniques and solutions for keeping system downtime to a minimum? What kinds of products are being offered, and for whom are they designed? This report answers these questions in depth and gives one of the best explanations of what is meant by high availability that we've seen yet. Requires free, quick registration to read.

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WFT had equipped to meet business and IT service level agreements and compliance requirements as environments change with a flexible, DR infrastructure.