It may seem obvious that IT departments charged with the responsibility of keeping their company going with computer services and data storage would back up properly and have a contingency plan in place if disaster strikes.
Somewhat surprisingly – and in a statistic that might worry many CEO’s of large corporations – a survey conducted by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council (DRPC) found no less than three out of four companies were not properly prepared for a disaster.
Even more surprising is the fact that data protection, security and recovery are high on the shopping list for IT professionals spending on storage-related services according to thisIDC survey.
A big risk
The implications in terms of lost revenue and customers can be immense. The DRPC survey revealed some companies lost more than $50,000 in 20% of cases whereas some suffered losses exceeding $5 million.
There have been any number of stories of customers leaving a company in huge numbers when data loss on a large scale has been reported.
Clearly a coherent plan has to be instituted that can be calmly and effectively followed in the event of disaster. While you’re at it, why not evaluate the disaster recovery facilities of the IT equipment you do have whether virtual or physical?
If you’re thinking of making changes – perhaps to a virtual system such as virtual storage in the form of a SAN (Storage Area Network) set up, then ascertain how well featured it is for dealing with disasters and how easy it will be to get up and running again.
What data loss precautions should you look for?
See how your proposed system answers these questions:
How does the system cope with power loss?
Ideally, it should check each time it starts whether proper shut down took place properly on the previous occasion. If it didn’t, then the system should automatically run a routine to ensure configuration data is as it should be.
How will the virtual SAN deal with crashes?
Look for a dual boot image system. If one image is corrupted due to a crash, then the system can boot from the other one.
Can the system be controlled from just one location?
With the ‘core’of the system and your expert personnel located in one place, it’s easier to get everything up and running sooner than if systems and equipment are spread over several other locations.
With a central system and proper contingencies in place, then downtime should be minimised.
Is fast and efficient vendor support available?
Does the vendor offer full levels of support? Is there a 24 hours option? Is it possible to choose from varying levels of support based your requirements?
The virtual answer
Finding a SAN software storage solution offering the safety features discussed above is possible. For example, companies such as StorMagic with their SvSAN data storage system provide safe shut down checking, dual booting and single location operation allied to varying levels of close support including a 24 hours option and online tools.