Why is Disaster Recovery so Difficult to Understand?
For most companies and individuals, everybody is aware that data on computers and servers needs to be backed up. Usually for homeowners, this is via a dedicated USB device that sits on the desk for years at a time, while for companies- they just use USB devices that can handle more data. Because, no matter what, the vacation pictures of kids and of our cute pets asleep are vitally important, and please do not even think about letting the iTunes library disappear. For most people, and most organizations, making sure the pictures, music and documents are safely stored away for when the hard drive crashes, that is considered a Disaster Recovery program. And while backing up your data is a vital part of a Disaster Recovery program, it is only one part.
This difference is quite hard to explain to most people, including executives of major companies, because when they see that the information technology department is backing up a lot of data to the cloud, they shiver at the monthly cost for that safety net. As David Williams fromComplete Cloud Hosting Solutions points out, “after we set up proper local backups of all of the data, and then we copy the data to the cloud, the company may find itself with a $150 monthly bill for their data to be secured. Then, we start asking about the rest of Disaster Recovery, such as which servers do we image directly in the cloud? How quickly after your building is destroyed do you need access to all of the files and systems to enable your business to start operating again?”
It is during the ‘how quickly’ point in the conversation that real Disaster Recovery Planning starts to take hold. For most companies only consider their data as the key resource, but if you only have the data from your systems, then when an emergency occurs, it could take weeks to acquire new servers, days to build the new servers, and days to download and import the data into the new servers, and then before a company knows it, they are hit with a $25,000 support bill to restore operations.
While that is one way to operate a company, and the systems will be restored at some point, Complete Cloud Hosting Solutions recommends imaging your servers and placing that data in the cloud too. Most companies think that at around $150/month that is expense, but when the original server crashes in the physical building, or the building is demolished by a hurricane or tornado, most imaged servers can be restored within a few hours in the cloud. Additionally, support personnel can restore and attach the company’s data directly to the server, provide employees an alternative way to begin working off of the new server, and the company will be operational in a short amount of time. Definitely before weeks have passed, and much less expensive than $25,000.
At this point, it should be easy enough to say you back up your data, then you image your servers and place those in the cloud, and everything works out well. But, there are a couple of other pieces of information that should be discussed.
First, for data, such as documents, databases, pictures and that sort of data, the industry standard is to compress that data before it is stored in the cloud. This simply means that if 100 units of data are sent to the cloud, the software in the cloud will compress the data to 60 units actually stored. This is due to not backing up blank spaces, not backing up data that is already protected in the cloud, and generally optimizing the data in the cloud. David continues, “with proper software provided by your hosting firm, receiving a 60% compression rate on data will greatly reduce your monthly Disaster Recovery budget.”
Secondly, for imaged servers, it is NOT recommended to compress that data. While some firms will tell you it can be done, and technically the data can be compressed, when a server needs to be brought live in the cloud, over 90% of the time the restore fails because of corrupted data in a compressed environment. David points out, “that our organization utilized another firm for our server images, and they guaranteed the compressed images would work during an outage. During the five times that we tested the restore procedure, the servers never did make it online, so we are now only using non-compressed images to store our servers in the cloud, and the service has yet to fail.”
In closing David states that, “in addition to proper local and cloud backups, server/system imaging in the cloud, there are multiple other steps to create a proper Disaster Recovery program. And, whether you utilize Complete Cloud Hosting Solutions, or another computer support provider, if you own or operate a company, this is one of the most important investments you can make. Because without servers, computers and your customer’s data, how will you be able to run your business?”
More information on Complete Cloud Hosting Solutions: The firm is made up of multiple partners that work in telecom, information technology and network design, finance, and we own and operate multiple companies. Additionally, our clients include hospital systems, 911 call centers, regular call centers, engineering firms, law offices, doctors’ offices and numerous other industries. Please visit http://www.cchostingsolutions.com/disaster-recovery.aspx, or you can call David Williams at 678-901-4401 for more information.