Over the last five years I have seen a more passive approach to back up and disaster recovery. Organizations are letting their data reliability take a back seat to system up-time and performance which is starting to become scary. I typically ask CEO’s and owners what an acceptable amount of downtime for their business and they all reference about 2 to 4 hours. It always amazes me, these types of expectations people in power have about how quickly their systems can get back up. Never taken into account is how long it takes to build their new system as well as the time consuming process of moving data from one location to another. It is something that is always over-looked in normal system installations. Many businesses out there feel that their system can be up in 4 to 5 hours and typically when we review and assess a small to medium size business, we find that the average rebuild time for a single server that has a disaster is roughly 10 hours. Of course the 10 hours for a single server consists of:
- server build via operating system install and patching
- application set up and configuration
- shares/drive set up
- data migration
- testing and validation
It is very important to build and structure a network system that can facilitate an agreed level of downtime. In other words, if management decides that the network can only be down for 4 hours, no matter what time of the day it might be, that will drive a completely different back up system and methodology then if bva is told that 12 hours is satisfactory from 8am to 5pm on weekdays. Documenting the process and timeline for bring back up the system is critical and imperative.
Many businesses are looking to move their data into the cloud and normally referenced to bva that it is a cheaper alternative to onsite back up, but I can tell you that is not the case. Moving the data offsite in a reliable and consistent manner can be a bit tricky depending on the solution. For the solution to thrive, you need a reliable telco provider such as fiber as well as a stable power grid. Depending on the solution, data roughly can cost $4 to $12 per gigabit (GB) depending on the compliance standard set forth for data retention. (30 days, 12 months, 5 years, 7 years) There are several great softwares out there that can be loaded on any server and completely hardware agnostic. This software drives the back up job and can point it to any iSCSI target. This software can also move the data offsite to any destination you prefer and typically the software you select will provide that option via several data centers. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and even Apple are a few that have gotten in this business and will continue to grow and large back up solution providers.