Delivering disaster recovery solutions: A technology overview

Learn how to deliver disaster recovery solutions to clients in need of disaster recovery (DR) plans. Start with this technology overview from our Disaster Recovery Services Guide.

IT channel takeaway: Almost all businesses need a disaster recovery (DR) solution. Value-added resellers (VARs)

can meet many customer needs with some basic packages, identified in this technology overview from our Disaster Recovery Services Guide.

Disaster recovery seems like an ominous undertaking, only to be considered by large businesses with the staff and large vendor professional services organizations to deliver it. The reality is that almost all businesses need disaster recovery plans to handle situations where systems critical to running their businesses are no longer available. Monumental disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes or other such events are usually first to mind, but something smaller scale -- like a server room fire or equipment theft -- are more likely; they're the ones requiring disaster recovery solutions to get customers running again. Not being able to run the business because basic systems are unavailable can be devastating or fatal to a business in a very short time.

Putting together a plan for a class of business is not that difficult. There are many specific circumstances to be covered, but a base solution to augment with special situation handling can be developed. With this base solution, a VAR can provide what smaller businesses lack today – the ability to continue doing business after, what to them is a disaster, occurs. The VAR also has the opportunity to achieve additional revenue implementing and customizing the disaster recovery solution for the customer, and then gain recurring revenue with services to monitor, test and periodically upgrade the solution. Alleviating a customer's worry has value, which can easily be demonstrated in an economic model.

There are many different DR solutions, ranging from replicating Big Iron data to a remote location with duplicate equipment, to something as simple as loading removable media relatively quickly into replaced or standby systems in order to resume operations. The template for most small to mid-size businesses through mid-tier enterprises is fairly straightforward:

Decide what is required to resume operations, when operations must resume and what magnitude of disaster needs the protection.
Randy Kerns
Independent Consultant

 

Decide what is required to resume operations, when (how much time is required) operations must resume and what magnitude of disaster needs the protection. The magnitude has to do with the decisions about whether it is regional, distance entailed and people's availability to resume operations.

Setting those parameters helps sets the bounds about equipment and software needed and the availability of the equipment (where does it come from and where should it be kept) and the ever-important replication of critical data. Replicating data so operations can resume with minimal loss may go beyond periodic use of removable media and may include use of software to copy changed data to another location for resumption.

A DR plan for a class of customers can be relatively straightforward and developed as a solution offering. There are a great many customers that need this as a standard business process and it should not take much convincing – if there is a reasonable plan and cost for implementation. This also gives the VAR some added revenue opportunities in solving customer problems.

Continue reading about disaster recovery planning and testing tactics in our Disaster Recovery Services Guide.

About the author: Randy Kerns is an independent storage consultant. In the past, he served as vice president of strategy and planning for storage at Sun Microsystems Inc., and covers storage and storage management software including SAN and NAS analysis. He has been in the computer industry for over 30 years, involved in the development of storage products for both mainframe and open systems. His background is in product design and development. Pose your storage solution questions to Randy in our Ask the Experts area.
 

This was first published in September 2006

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