Today's blog is written by guest blogger Mark Chinsky. It's Part 2 of 2 in our blog series on the problems with today’s backup solutions, and why you need to think about business continuity solutions instead. You can read Part I HERE.
In part one of this two part series, we discussed some of the pitfalls with most common backup solutions that are in use today. Be they tape, hard disk, or even Internet/Cloud solutions, they generally share a common painful thread…It just takes too long to be back up and running again in the event of a serious problems. Downtime of days or weeks is not uncommon.
What is a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Solution?
A Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Solution (we’ll just say DRS for brevity) is a solution that ensures when your servers go down, be it a minor corruption or a disaster-like fire or a hurricane, you can continue operating, one way or another in a very short time frame.
Historically, the more recent your backups are and the quicker you can get back and running was directly proportional to the cost of the solution. If you wanted a backup solution that backed up multiple times per day and could allow you to recover in hours or less, you were going to spend a lot of money on hardware & software and needed some fairly savvy personnel on premise. You can assume that Exxon or Coke has this ability, but a small or mid-size company could most likely not afford this ability.
Today there are a handful of solutions cropping up for DRS that are bringing down the cost and complexity of such a capability to within reach of almost any sized business.
An example of a DRS solution is EverSafe!. EverSafe! ensures that your servers are being constantly backed up, and that in the event of a problem, you can ‘fail over’ to their device so that it takes over the load of your down server while you take the time to address your problem. When your original server is back up and running, you can then ‘fail back’ to it, and the solution is ready again for the next problem with any of your servers. EverSafe! automatically mirrors its data to two bi-coastal secure data centers in the cloud for multiple layers of redundancy.
If you suffered a disaster, you can run near real-time copies of your server ‘in the cloud’ until you rebuild or relocate your offices and can then ‘fail back’ to your new equipment over a weekend when everything is in place, again almost eliminating all down time.
Thanks to price reductions in hardware, cloud computing and virtualization technology, a solution like EverSafe! can start as low as $299/month for a small business. When you think about how important your various insurance policies are to the life of your business, this type of investment which may ensure its very survival someday is pretty small.
Some added benefits of these solutions:
- Backups are tested every day. A photo of a copy of your server running inside the EverSafe! appliance is emailed to you to prove its ready to run in the event its needed
- You can use the device to bring copies of your servers up, even while your live servers are fine, in order to test a new patch or test an upgrade to your CRM or ERP software. It’s nice being able to test a business critical software change without risking the ability to operate after the upgrade. You can also bring up a copy of your CRM system to allow people to be trained and try dangerous functions such as ‘search and replace’ or mass deleting data in your suspect lists.
- Unless your facility is destroyed, your data is backed up inches away from your servers, not in the cloud, so access to large amounts of data is near instantaneous. In the event of a disaster, EverSafe! will overnight you a replacement device fully populated with your data from the data center.
- The solutions are so simple, that non-technical folk can do most functions. If needed, emergency help is available from US-based tech support 24x7x365. During Hurricane Sandy, 1,200 companies were operating in the cloud failover and not one missed its promised time to be up and running in the cloud.
Backup solutions have been around almost as long as computers and with good reason. We trust virtually all of our business and personal information and media (photos, videos etc.) to computer storage. Most of us realize it’s a matter of when, not if, data will get lost.
However, few people think about recovery time, especially if you haven’t yet suffered the type of crash, failure or disaster that knocks your IT systems down for days or more. However, when most business people realize the amount of time ordinary backup takes to get you running again, true Business Continuity solutions like EverSafe! are almost a ‘no brainer’ when comparing the business saving capabilities vs. the relatively low cost.
About the author
Mark Chinsky is Managing Director at Clients First Technology solutions a division of Clients First Business Solutions. Clients First markets and supports Business Continuity solutions like EverSafe! as well as line of business solutions such as ERP & CRM solutions from vendors like Microsoft, SAP, Epicor and Sage.