Not unlike the real estate mantra “location, location, location”, the IT mantra for disaster recovery (DR) has long been, “backups, backups, backups”. But as with all things IT, the quest for better has exerted its force on the technology.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, disaster recovery became a more tangible subject. But not all disasters are as catastrophic. More common are floods, fires, and the like. So, too, can a failed server constitute a disaster. The question is: regardless of the cause, how quickly can we resume operations following such an outage?

In its adolescence, disaster recovery meant: searching through a box for the latest magnetic backup tape, praying that it was recent enough so as to avoid much data loss, waiting hours for the restore process to finish, then again praying that the restore was complete and without error.

Fast forward fifteen years. Today we have backup automation; we use disks and flash memory over tape; we leverage data deduplication, snapshotting, virtualization, hot-spares; and we use a single interface to unify, centralize, and simplify disaster recovery operations. In short, we can get an organization up-and-running again in minutes, not hours.

“So what?”, you ask.

Consider this: most organizations experience 10 to 20 hours of unplanned downtime per year—and that’s without any major disasters. At an average cost of $1,150 per hour as a direct loss of revenue (for an average small-to-medium sized business), such outages quickly begin to cost $10,000 to $20,000 or more per year. Now, factor in some major event with the potential to take your entire business offline for days, if not weeks; few organizations can afford to be without modern DR protection.

I hope you found this primer on disaster recovery helpful. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your account manager with any questions or comments.