Disaster Recovery Planning Need Not Be A Catastrophe
SRM (storage resource management) can help your customers develop a solid disaster recovery plan.
With hundreds or thousands of users on a corporate network, today's data explosion is larger than it's ever been. Coupled with increased threats to corporate security, disaster recovery plans are an increasingly greater issue facing today's IT professionals. These plans require accurate information, unambiguous priorities, and a set of tools to automate as much of the heavy lifting as possible. Storage resource management (SRM) arms your customers with a precise view of data storage and with clear priorities. Therefore, SRM is a necessary first step to implementing more efficient disaster recovery plans.
An effective SRM tool enables your customers to make decisions and set policies about what data to keep, what to archive, and what to prevent from getting on the system in the first place. It helps them easily identify what must be stored off-site or at a hot site, with a clearer picture of storage resources and an accurate assessment of mission-critical data.
Software Controls The Backup Window
A successful disaster recovery plan begins with an effective backup plan. SRM is a strong complement to existing backup software and helps ensure the backup is small enough to fit the available window. This is done by accurately identifying mission-critical data and cleaning network storage to ensure duplicate files, dated files, or undesired multimedia files aren't backed up. Family photos, home movies, and outdated corporate presentations do not need to take up valuable network space. By reducing 30% to 50% of data that resides on a network, SRM can substantially shorten your customers' backup windows.
The same tools that shorten backup windows are vital to further development of a successful disaster recovery plan. When addressing disaster recovery, as with backup windows, IT professionals must first have an accurate picture of what data resides on the network - exactly where it's stored, who uses what data, who owns it, and how often it is accessed. Based on this view of storage resources, the administrator can obtain an initial baseline while planning for future growth, eliminating faulty assumptions that could have costly and catastrophic consequences. A poorly conceived or deployed disaster recovery program gives everyone a false sense of security that is revealed during that worst-case scenario when there is nothing that can be done to correct the situation.
What Should Be Stored Where?
Identifying what data must be stored off-site or at a hot site is more complicated than it sounds. Simply sorting between data that must remain on-site and data that must not is not enough. An effective disaster recovery plan calls for regular assessment of storage resources to ensure all key data that has been altered is backed up - including files that may have slipped through the cracks in the initial examination.
To facilitate identifying key files and directories, an SRM solution must deliver neat, easy-to-read reports highlighting such items as file access date, modification date, owner, backup status, and file type. Analysis of those same reports can help IT end users evaluate whether to archive data to tape or reorganize how the data is stored. SRM further builds efficiency into the process by "desk checking" - validating the correct data was moved to the disaster recovery site - and automatically notifying involved people or groups.
Backing up only the data that truly needs to be stored off-site greatly reduces the size of off-site storage. This will save money in capital expenditures and dramatically reduce the data-transfer charges incurred when backing up across a multi-city WAN (wide area network). Most of all, an IT department can expect to realize significant increases in personnel efficiency. Instead of rummaging through directory structures one at a time to find mission-critical files, staff can quickly identify important data to be backed up and spend their time designing and implementing other projects.
It's All About Restores
The true test of a successful disaster recover plan comes when a restore is required. Even in the direst of circumstances, your customers can leverage SRM's comprehensive documentation facilities and ability to move files. As a result, they can efficiently restore the missing data from the disaster recovery site, returning the enterprise to productivity quickly.
Effective disaster recovery planning doesn't need to be a catastrophe. With the right approach and tools, IT professionals can avoid a major disaster. SRM arms your customers with what they need to implement successful disaster recovery plans.