Is Your Disaster Recovery Solution Sufficient for Your Critical Applications?

Availability Demands of Our Always-on World

The digitalization of our world, and the globalization of our economy, have truly transformed the business environment in which we all operate. To compete, your business needs to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This means your IT systems must run 24/7/365, to support your always-on business.

Always-on, has become a global requirement that touches every part of our lives. It impacts your critical business applications, and your business can’t run without them. In manufacturing environments, it’s about maintaining productivity, and reducing waste. Retailers, need to ensure transaction processing systems are up and running, to maintain sales targets. In Building Security, premises and individuals need to be protected from internal, and external threats. In Public safety, lives are on the line. In Financial Services, the impact of system downtime is huge when you’re managing thousands of transactions per second. And in Healthcare, accessibility of patient records and compliance is crucial. You get the idea. None of these organizations can afford for their applications to be down. And, as the cost of downtime continues to rise, the dependence companies have on IT systems continues to increase.

It’s About More Than Just Protecting Against System Failures

Availability protection, however, isn’t limited to threats against servers, storage systems, virtual machines or applications. Unplanned downtime can result from localized power failures, building-wide problems or even the complete loss of a site or a facility. Such disasters, whether natural or caused by human error, can result in the total loss of a physical data center, potentially leaving your business unable to function for days or even weeks. In regulated industries, a site-wide problem can lead to data loss that risks compliance, adding significantly to your downtime costs. That’s why businesses in regulated industries like pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and financial services need protection solutions that ensure that all their data is safely replicated and remains available at all times.

Traditional Approaches to Site Protection

When protecting against localized failures by using geographic separation, if a disaster strikes in one location, the goal is that your applications and data are immediately available, up-to-date, and fully operational at another location. Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions enable a business or operation to switch over to a remote location for continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster. There are a few things to be aware of regarding DR solutions.

  • Fail-over may not be automatic, and may require human action.

  • DR implementations have Recovery Time Objectives (RTO’s) – the maximum amount of time that a system, or application can be down after a failure or disaster – and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO’s) – the target maximum time period for which data might be lost.

  • Data is not typically backed up continuously, but instead asynchronously, based on a schedule. This means that when the DR site is turned up, operations resume from the point of the last data back. So if, for example, your back-up is every 6 hours, the maximum period of data loss could be 6 hours.

While traditional DR solutions can provide long distance geographic separation for protection, that protection does incur a period of downtime, and some level of data loss.

Synchronous Availability Protection Prevents Downtime and Data Loss

The needs of our increasingly always-on world, are driving the race to zero for RTO and RPO. This demands something more than traditional DR can offer.

An alternative to traditional DR solutions is the use of synchronous replication between geographically separated sites. The network requirements for synchronous replication mean that these solutions are best suited to geographic separation typically within a metropolitan area. Such solutions can defend your critical business applications against localized power failures, building-wide problems or physical machines failures without downtime or data loss.

Unlike DR solutions that rely on asynchronous replication and which must therefore focus on recovery from downtime, Synchronous replication and can provide zero downtime for your applications during outages. In the event of a physical machine or site failure, a synchronous replication solution can automatically detect those failures and keep virtual machines running with no downtime. The difference between preventing downtime, rather than helping you merely recover from it, has a big impact on an organization’s revenues, costs, customer satisfaction and efficiency rates.

Synchronous replication, provides geographic separation protection within a metropolitan area, without downtime or data loss in the event of a localized failure or disaster.

A Powerful Addition to Your Availability Toolkit

Synchronous data replication is a powerful addition to your solutions for always-on systems and applications. Unlike typical disaster recovery solutions that are reactive, and which rely on back-up and restore, Synchronous data replication between locations in a metro area, to allow for continuous operation in the event of a site failure in order to truly safeguard your business from major downtime due to potentially catastrophic events such as flooding and power outages.

Originally published in LinkedIn Pulse.