Making Plan B as good as Plan A: Backup and Disaster Recovery

Tommy Kolega, CIO, Viadex: Global IT Infrastructure and Deployment Specialists

There’s no compromise in robust contingency plans
Backing up systems, applications and data is good practice. We all hold this truth to be self-evident. The problem is, not all backup and disaster recovery solutions are created equal. Some are more reliable than others, some are more expensive, some simply won’t match the way you run your IT. Nobody wants to start their quest for DR solutions with disastrous choices.

Before even starting to make the choices it’s best to make a thorough assessment of what you look for in a solution. Backup and DR are not just about contingency plans for your IT – how to keep the business and its users functioning seamlessly if things go wrong – they’re at their most robust when they take into account impeccable governance, corporate reputation protection, high levels of responsibility towards your data and applications and, not least, security.

They’re about accepting no failure in business performance, even if there is a failure in systems, or attacks on their integrity. Of equal importance to the plans you have in place to ensure business as usual – no matter how unusual the circumstances – backup and DR start with the IT team, but should be understood by everybody in the organisation. Inadvertent user behaviours, such as opening malicious phishing emails, can shatter anybody’s best laid plans.

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Finding the optimum solution
When balancing the business requirement, for protection of the fundamental capabilities the business depends on, sensitised by the cost to deliver, there are two metrics that guide the decision:

  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the time taken to fully recover a failed service or application from backup.
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the point in time to which your existing backup solution will allow you to recover data.

Reducing RTO to minimise downtime, while increasing RPO restorability (to minimise data loss) drives costs up. Sacrificing either metric, to reduce spend, could have negative consequences on the ability of your business to bounce back from disaster and resume trading. As the old saying goes: “Buy cheap, buy twice.”

Core on-premise applications
All modern businesses depend on the daily running of the CRM, ERP, Payroll or Warehousing systems to operate efficiently. Unexpected and extended downtime of any key system is unacceptable to any business.   The cloud has, to a degree, removed some of the strain. SaaS applications sitting in the cloud are subject to the robust protection offered by the cloud provider, and are often considered to be in safer hands than may be the case back in the physical datacentre. Many IT departments still rely on some local applications or systems, however, for which reliable backup and uptime are paramount.

Smarter strategies
Many still also rely on traditional Disaster Recovery solutions based on technologies that have long been pushed aside by more efficient approaches. The cost to deploy a backup system with appropriate RTO and RPO metrics typically involves a significant capital investment in hardware infrastructure and staff overhead to deploy, manage, and maintain. Traditional backup solutions can also be dependent on key hardware infrastructure being unaffected during a disaster involving flood or fire.

Based on the nature of a disaster, such reliance on hardware could result in unplanned replacement purchases, the unintended consequence being capital outlay and time to configure and deploy, further extending downtime and increasing financial impact.

Reliance on hardware also leaves an organisation open to higher levels of risk than it has to accept, invariably higher costs, and lower efficiencies than be achieved with, for example Zerto.

A modern backup solution: combining hardware and cloud services
A hybrid backup solution combines on-premise hardware with local compute for instant virtualisation and recovery, with secure cloud compute infrastructure for instant off-site virtualisation in the event of total disaster.

Combining local hardware with cloud infrastructure compute delivers a flexible and robust backup solution to meet the most demanding of use cases. Viadex Backup as a Service is powered by Datto Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, a leading data protection solution that enables businesses to deliver modern backup for physical and virtual servers, and SaaS applications.

Datto delivers comprehensive and reliable Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions that seamlessly extend to the secure Datto Cloud for off-site compute. Backups are virtualised through an on-site appliance as they occur and the resultant virtual machines can be booted both locally and in the cloud in the event of a failure.  Additionally, virtual machines are automatically booted daily and a screenshot taken of the login screen to prove their viability and give peace of mind that your backups actually work.

With regards to a modern and effective DR strategy, Viadex Disaster Recovery as a Service uses Zerto technology. This offers completely appliance-free cloud delivery and is consumption-driven, based on the model you establish for your recovery objectives (RTO/RPO, as outlined previously). Zerto brings other benefits to the IT team, in areas such as  security testing (triggering a failover test, for example, with an exact-copy running in the cloud, to evaluate the system),  development, scalability testing and other QA tests, without any impact on your on-premise production systems: “Zerto Virtual Replication gives you the option to perform alterations on near-real time replicas of actual production servers any time, and any day.  Using ZVR, you can easily do a test failover on a production application to a previous point in time, inject any code you need to, and see how the performance of the application is affected.”

In an age when ‘disaster’ can no longer be considered as something that always happens to someone else, it’s time to move away from cumbersome and ageing technologies such as tape and LTO media.  That was then. This is now.

Viadex have a range of Backup and DR options, corresponding to how you run your business, offering failover through off-site servers. It gets you back to normal in next to no time. I’m happy to discuss better, faster, and more cost-effective protection for your business as soon as you need to. Just get in touch at tommy.kolega@viadex.com

 

ABOUT VIADEX

Viadex help businesses to extend beyond traditional data protection by providing backup as a service (BaaS) powered by Datto. This Managed Service helps to offload overhead and complexity of delivering reliable Backup and Disaster Recovery, on a predictable OPEX model. With a Single Point of Contact, a dedicated Service Desk, managed backup and quarterly recovery rehearsal, Viadex help to deliver complete data protection and recovery.

We also offer a range of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solutions, which include:

  • DRaaS with Zerto for on-premise virtual workloads
  • DRaaS with Veeam for customers of on-premise Veeam Availability Suite
  • DRaaS with VMware for native support in the cloud with VMware vCloud Availability Suite

 

 

 

 

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