Research: BC/DR and Virtualization
Final Frontier: Leveraging Virtualization for BC/DR
When we set out to analyze the use of server and desktop virtualization in business continuity and disaster recovery strategies, we hoped that we wouldn’t need to defend adoption of comprehensive BC/DR plans, or find that the economy has disrupted our ability to protect our data. But of the 681 business technology professionals who took part in our InformationWeek Analytics Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Survey, 17% have no BC/DR plans, while 20% are still working on their strategies. Most say cost and complexity are the top inhibitors.
“DR is a bear to get people to spend money on and difficult to justify—except right after a data loss,” says one respondent, with insight that we hope wasn’t gained the hard way.
So let’s begin by saying that a continuity plan is much, much more than just a policy saying how you’ll recover data or get systems running. It is an umbrella, a framework that addresses myriad business and IT challenges, from calculating outage windows to ensuring equipment is available for testing and development. It’s also, in many cases, a moral imperative that goes beyond guaranteeing the survivability of our employers. For banks, hospitals, government agencies and other critical organizations, data loss could be devastating, especially in a disaster situation. In these cases, a BC/DR plan touches the lives of the communities and even the world in which we live.
We’ve recently heard lots of pundit chatter about how DR is passé and it’s now all about continuous data protection for business continuity. That misses the point. Business continuity is the overall framework responsible for ensuring an organization can continue to function in the event of an outage; it’s also where we set expectations around costs vs. recovery time and point objectives. A disaster recovery strategy is the piece of the business continuity plan that details how a company gets back in business after the fact. And virtualization is the glue that can bring it all together. So how can IT groups best overcome the obstacles to continuity planning? First, by realizing that it should be the business driving this project, enabled by IT. Leveraging the latest technologies, especially virtualization, in your BC/DR plans is a winning strategy that will boost ROI, cost savings and resource efficiency levels.