IT Innovators: Will You Be Ready When Disaster Strikes?

IT Innovators: Will You Be Ready When Disaster Strikes?

With disasters, it’s not if they are going to happen, but when. Whether an earthquake, tornado, flood, thunderstorm, fire, or even a power outage, disaster is bound to strike when you least expect it. You must be prepared to quickly recover key IT systems and data—the success or failure of your company or organization may depend on it. The problem is, however, that most of you aren’t prepared.

A recent Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey from the IT Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council revealed that roughly 3 in 4 companies are at risk due to their failure to prepare for disaster recovery (DR). Of those organizations that took part in the survey, roughly 36% had lost one or more critical applications, virtual machines or critical data files for hours, just within the last year. Nearly one in five had lost one or more critical applications over a period of days. And, one in four had lost most or all of a data center for hours or even days. The reported losses from these outages ranged from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, with nearly 20% indicating losses of more than $50,000 to over $5 million.

If you happen to be an IT professional not adequately prepared for disaster, the good news is that a number of technologies and capabilities are today making DR planning easier than ever before. The cloud is just one example. Its centralized management, scalability and reduced cost help minimize operational complexity, which in turn, enables better DR via things like cloud-based backups. In fact, many DR plans are today making use of either the public or private cloud, and in some cases, a hybrid of the two.

Storage replication is another technology being eyed for DR. Microsoft’s Windows Server Technical Preview features just such a capability with its Storage Replica capability. Storage Replica enables storage-agnostic, block-level, synchronous replication between clusters or servers for DR, as well as stretching of a failover cluster for high availability. Synchronous replication makes it possible to mirror data in physical sites with crash-consistent volumes. This ensures zero data loss at the file system level. Asynchronous replication allows site extension beyond metropolitan ranges with the possibility of data loss.

If you’re interested in learning more about Storage Replica, I suggest checking out two recorded sessions from the recent Microsoft Ignite 2015. The first, Exploring Storage Replica in Windows Server vNext, discusses the Storage Replica feature, including scenarios, architecture, requirements, and demonstrations. It covers its use in cluster-to-cluster and non-clustered scenarios, as well as Microsoft’s new stretch cluster option.

The second session, Stretching Failover Clusters and Using Storage Replica in Windows Server vNext, discusses deployment considerations for taking a Windows Server Failover Cluster and stretching it across sites to achieve DR. It also touches on networking, storage and quorum model considerations, as well as enhancements in vNext designed to enable multi-site clusters.

If you want to know more about IT DR in general, there’s two upcoming conferences that should be on your radar. The 7x24 Exchange 2015 Spring Conference will take place June 7-10 in Orlando, Florida, while the World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM) is set for June 8-11 in Toronto, ON Canada.

Finally, if you want to benchmark your DR preparedness and see how you stack up against your peers, check out this free 10-minute online survey. Once you complete it, you’ll immediately see a benchmark score that rates your DR preparedness against that of other companies who’ve participated in the survey. If you want to improve your score, the site also offers information on DR best practices. You can even access a free backup capacity reporting tool that will provide you a detailed snapshot of all your files to help in planning backup capacity and utilization.

This blog about storage and networking is sponsored by Microsoft.

Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.

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