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How do business continuity and disaster recovery differ?

There are subtle differences between business continuity and disaster recovery. Learn about those differences and what they mean for your customers.

Q: How do business continuity and disaster recovery differ?

Business continuity is really an extension of disaster recovery. If disaster recovery is the ability and the process to recover an operation after some type of event, it's very reactive. Business continuity is taking that same approach but saying, "If I'm going to have some type of disaster or an outage, how do I maintain my operations through that event?"

So instead of having to actually look at recovering and reloading information, and getting things set up, what you want to do is have basically a failover to an alternate system that automatically resumes those business operations in seconds or minutes, not hours. When you start looking at business continuity solutions, you're really talking about having an application that you can't afford to be down at all. We're really seeing a lot more of that.

About the expert
Bob Laliberte is an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group. He focuses on storage management software, infrastructure, professional services and business continuity. Listen to Bob's answers on data recovery by downloading his disaster recovery services FAQ podcast.

Our research indicates that a majority of midtier and enterprise customers require less than four hours of downtime, and there's a certain percentage -- around 7% to 10% -- that said they can't have any downtime. For an environment like that, you need to implement a solution wherein the data is automatically mirrored synchronously so you're not losing any data. You also need to make sure the applications and the servers are fully clustered, so that the other site automatically resumes the company operations.

This was last published in May 2008

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