The Zen of disaster decovery (DR) is about being "at one" with your data. You know where it is in the information life cycle and, as a result, what tier of storage on which it should reside.
The art is knowing not only how to resuscitate your datacentre after an emergency, but also knowing what you will have once it is resurrected.
So if you combined the Dalai Lama, Marc Andreesen and MacGyver to produce the ultimate DR master, what would this person's guiding principles be?
Many paths, one DR destination
Every journey has a destination. In the world of DR, this should not be a surprise. Your DR plan should have the flexibility to deal with a variety of scenarios, but always bring you back to the same place: a fully functional datacentre.
Know thy data
The IT Zen master knows what is important, and how to find and retrieve it in just the right instant. Tiered data protection (TDP) provides an efficient way to be "at one" with your data. It enables you to know where your data is, where it should be, and exactly how to get it back without wasting resources.
Not all data is created equal
Classify your data and store it on the right tier of storage. Know what you are keeping, how long you need to keep it, and how fast you need to restore it. Don’t be overly retentive if you don’t have to.
WWMGD (What Would MacGyver Do)
Even MacGyver needed a Swiss Army knife, some twine and some duct tape to escape the bad guys. Build your tool kit with the most flexible RAID, nearline, VTL and tape solutions on the market.
Timing is everything
When recovering from a disaster, the priority is speed. But it is not enough to bring data back online; the data must be restored in the right order. So classify and prioritise your data based on its value to your company, and ensure your DR plan has a great sense of timing.
Make like a squirrel
You need to work like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter, storing stashes of data on-site as well as off-site.
Crack the code
To protect your customer's company from other types of legal and regulatory disasters, you must be sure the data you store off-site is encrypted. Security of the physical device (disk and tape) is vital. You not only have to keep the data, you must keep it safe and secure.
The Yin and Yang of SLAs
The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that outlines how fast you need the data back. This helps determine the type of technology you use for backup. The Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the point in time to which you need to be able to return a system. Again, different technologies address different RPO needs. A tiered data protection strategy measures and balances RTO and RPO requirements.
No organisation can protect all of its data cost-effectively with just one technology. Less critical data may require a simple tape backup, while business-critical data may require more complex disk-based capabilities.
Using one technology to meet the protection needs of both types of data will either increase the chance of data loss, or increase the cost. The most effective approach combines multiple technologies into a tiered data protection infrastructure that delivers the most appropriate levels of protection to data based on its value to the organisation, guiding you through an IT "death" and into the recovery "afterlife".
Andy Walsky is vice president of EMEA sales and marketing at Overland Storage
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