Tag : small to medium size business

Reliable Back Up and Setting Correct Expectations

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.

BVA Cloud Offering – Virtual Servers – Cloud Servers

For about 2 years now BVA has developed and tested an offering that allows organization the opportunity to move their physical servers off-site into the cloud.  There are several advantages with this type of architecture that really helps business grow and increase their overall up-time and satisfaction.  This offering is important for BVA as well as organization here in the valley.  The days of replacing physical servers are over for the small to medium size businesses.  It’s important to reevaluate your long term strategy so that it falls in line with what is going on in the technology world.  Too many times do we see organization’s continue with the old-line of technology due to inexperience and lack of confidence in change.  This offering that BVA has decided to adopt, truly leverages virtualization in a very robust and redundant infrastructure.  This offering is housed at a local data-center that is a tier 1 facility.  The virtual cluster/farm is roughly 40 physical servers hosts leveraging the VMware virtualization platform.  This offering can provide a public and private cloud solution. Both solutions are very reliable and offer a 100% SLA on hardware up-time which is quite beneficial and worth the cost associated for this type of infrastructure architecture.  This environment has redundant switches, firewalls, power, and bandwidth.  There are three different ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) which allow true redundancy when it comes to back-bone connectivity.

The biggest difference between the two offerings is pretty straight forward:

  • Public Cloud Server – a host environment that is a 40 physical server environment that is not dedicated to your organization
  • Private Cloud Server – a host environment that is a 3 physical server environment that is dedicated to your organization

The cost is really aggressive and I feel its realistic for a small to medium size business looking for advanced IT solutions.  Here is a great example of the cost structure because it is varied depending on the specifications needed via physical server.

  • 2 Processors, 2GB of RAM, 250GB of 15k rpm Disks = $350/Month
  • 4 Processors, 8GB of RAM, 250GB of 15k rpm Disks = $610/Month
  • 4 Processors, 16GB of RAM, 350GB of 15k rpm Disks = $950/Month