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Three Key Problems with Disaster Recovery and How to Solve Them

by Team Virtiant, on May 2, 2018 2:56:39 PM

Read Time: 4 minutes

As the challenges to your IT infrastructure continue to grow in number and complexity, it has never been more important to have a sound Disaster Recovery strategy. For most organizations, the challenge is not a lack of “wanting to” but rather a lack of “being able to”. Here are three key obstacles preventing you from achieving and maintaining a sound disaster recovery solution.

Environmental Complexity

Today's IT infrastructure environments continue to grow in size and complexity. Even with the push to virtualize more and more components, the increase in the number of locations and access methods for users is forcing IT managers to re-evaluate their footprints at a rapid pace. This can often lead to hardware intense, multi-point solutions that are cumbersome to manage. If just keeping the production systems running and stable is this challenging, the complexity becomes exponential when you begin considering Disaster Recovery solutions.

As systems grow and new components are added on, companies are forced to quickly define additional data storage capabilities. Similar to the comingling of application systems on servers, critical data is then often intermingled with other less critical data. This may be the conscious result of attempting to minimize capital expenditures; however, this further complicates the task of meeting RTO and RPO targets.

It is also not uncommon for these data-related decisions to be made without consideration to the impacts on Disaster Recovery. As production data volume grows, there is a correlating expense to keep the capacity of your DR solution in synch. There are capex costs to procure the additional storage capacity and there are operational costs to maintaining this additional capacity in the event that you may need it. This includes infrastructure and licensing costs, oftentimes for infrastructure that just lies dormant waiting for the next big disaster that may never come.

So is it a foregone conclusion that more data leads to more complexity and inevitably more cost? Actually, the answer is no. There is a better way to manage data efficiency through the incorporation of hyper-converged, or software-defined, components that form the base of your disaster recovery solution. This approach allows for dynamic sizing and on-demand growth of your DR solution. This results in a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to maintain and grow your data

Maximising Data Efficiency

Data is the lifeblood of any organization in the 21st century. The growth of data continues to explode in the digital age. Every system change seems to result in the addition of terabytes of data to your footprint. While it can be challenging to simply store these large volumes of data, the real challenge lies in the ability to efficiently access this data.

Let's consider your critical application systems. Rapid growth combined with shrinking budgets can result in co-habitation of critical virtual machines applications with non-critical supporting functions. IT managers have to do more with less. This means maximizing server capacity to minimize server footprint. The ability to meet RTO and RPO targets is hindered by having to bring back larger volumes of data just to get critical production systems back online.

Now let’s add to this the complexities that exist between your computer, network, and storage components. It is all too common these days for IT shops to have multiple solutions from a number of different vendors, all trying to peacefully coexist within the environment. This results in multiple licensing, varying hardware, and duplicity of infrastructure. Even with co-term licensing, this scenario can be complex and costly.

The rate of change required to keep this type of environment current often does not allow IT managers, the time required to constantly evaluate the efficiency of how these instances are deployed. As a result, multiple single points of failure are inadvertently created in the environment. This further stresses the Disaster Recovery solution and its ability to remain nimble and holistic.

The solution to this challenge is actually simple, or rather simplification to be exact. The ideal approach to disaster recovery would be a hyper-converged, scalable solution that eliminates the inherent complexity of your production system. Software-defined components minimize your dependence on physical hardware for scalability and increase the speed at which you can expand to meet additional storage needs.

Lack of Expertise

Most IT shops have ample experts to solve application, user interface and other productivity related development. Most IT budgets are focused on keeping this high priced talent pool deep enough to keep delivering new functionality to its user community. Where IT budgets are typically squeezed is in the human capital required to maintain production systems and adequately recover them from disaster recovery infrastructure to maintain their network.

There are certainly many capable professionals that are working tirelessly all across the world. Unfortunately, these folks are often spread too thin and responsible for a wide variety of infrastructure components. The combination of their busy schedule and limited IT budgets means that there is no time or money available for the critical training these folks need.

Ironically, most are rendered useless when the infrastructure goes down.

Furthermore, it doesn’t require a major disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake to have an IT disruption. Most are surprised to learn that the majority of IT disruptions are of the everyday variety. There also has to be planned downtime when upgrades and backups are applied. Unfortunately most disaster recovery solutions are not engineered to handle these simple, yet costly, downtime issues.

There are two approaches to solving this challenge. You can beg and plead for additional dollars to fund the staff and training necessary to stay current. This is a battle that IT managers often lose on an annual basis during the budget season.

The better approach is to consider a standalone solution that solves all your disaster recovery needs. Whether you prefer the convenience of an on-premise solution, the scalability of a cloud based approach or a combination thereof, a solution that can function completely independent of your production infrastructure can virtually eliminate downtime. This less expensive alternative can not only save you precious IT dollars, but it can also let you remain focused on critical production systems. 

Topics:Datadata recovery softwareDisaster Recovery PlanIT ResiliencyRecovery Time ObjectiveTechnologybusiness continuityDisaster RecoveryRTOBusiness