Look who I met at EMC World…a pretty darn good Mike Ditka impersonator…).
I always look forward to IT conferences. I really like the ability to get a glimpse of what’s to come, not to mention, of course, all the free gadgets. At this year’s EMC World, I noticed that service providers were much more in the limelight than in years past. This was evident not only in the higher volume of service provider-specific events, but also in the strategic development of EMC’s products.
Their products look to be in whole or in part, unified. Whether it was Data Domain becoming the main storage or Avamar running backups, or a universal interface for multiple technologies, all of these signs pointed to integration. EMC looked to be taking the best of all their underlying technologies and putting them together (my overly simplistic view, of course). After a few discussions with some of EMC’s product managers, my thoughts were confirmed. This is very exciting to see because at SunGard, we have been working almost in parallel with this movement.
As an IT service provider, we are focused on solutions, not products, so we have been continually developing backup and recovery solutions integrating EMC technologies for years with the purpose of improving solution performance and the overall client experience. I think there are a lot of people in IT who have a tendency to think that there is only one way to skin a cat when it comes to business continuity solutions. First off, you probably shouldn’t skin a cat to begin with, and second, there’s a reason there are so many backup products. . . it’s because there are so many unique IT environments.
My own focus is application availability, which is why we have so many solutions integrated into our services. Varying RTOs/RPOs for different IT workloads means that a tailored, multi-faceted solution is optimal. We have solutions around ESX replication and SRM to meet RTOs & RPOs for Tier 1 applications with automated recovery that we manage completely. And often times we integrate with EMC’s Avamar backup product, which enables scalable growth through a per-GB price model for lower tier applications. The technologies vary, but what we provide is universal, continuous application availability.
EMC’s strategic plan unveiled at EMC World will undoubtedly help me at SunGard to deliver premium managed backup and recovery services at a much lower cost than an internal solution. Product integration means quicker recovery with a solution that scales better, using fewer resources. It was very encouraging to see that our homegrown product development was being mirrored in many of EMC’s product roadmaps.
3 things you will want to pay attention to when choosing a cloud disaster recovery provider.
Let’s face it. We are always online in one form or another. If I am not watching television, checking mail, or using one of the 44 apps I have on my smartphone, then I am probably sleeping. Because of these use patterns, the demands on application availability are on the rise, and data is exploding. So let’s think about these two forces and how they impact disaster recovery (DR) planning for your businesses. These forces increase the DR workload for IT staff. As a result, your IT staff may be spending more time on DR instead of supporting strategic and revenue-generating projects. In other words, IT is only helping to maintain the business, not grow the business.
Cloud disaster recovery may be the answer
How do you overcome tight budgets and leaner IT staff when you are constantly being asked to do more with less? Well, you might consider “out-tasking” DR management by using cloud-based disaster recovery services.
Cloud disaster recovery services are being recognized for their ability to overcome limitations that affect some of the more traditional DR approaches. In recent years, for example, large-scale natural disasters such as Hurricanes Irene and Sandy in the US exposed flaws in infrastructure availability for many companies, as well as gaps in their DR plans. However, cloud DR services helped many companies recover during these disasters by providing off-site data storage, replication, and mirrored facilities.
Benefits of cloud disaster recovery
One benefit of using the technological capabilities of cloud DR services is that the cloud DR provider is responsible for the management of all backup equipment and storage systems. Since companies are constantly adding more devices (secondary site hot spares and storage devices) due to the increasing need for data, IT resources are being disproportionately impacted. Using a cloud DR service, however, the administration, management, and maintenance of the equipment in your recovery site is handled by the provider, not your IT staff. This eliminates the burden and overhead to your business.
A qualified cloud disaster recovery provider can reduce the time and drive down the costs of carrying out such management chores compared to doing the same work internally. What’s more, service providers will utilize documented best practices, dedicated and trained professionals, and invest in recovery automation tools. Unless you’re in the business of disaster recovery, there’s almost zero chance that you would invest in any of these tools yourself.
Don’t forget about change management
Another area where a provider could free up IT staff time involves change management. With today’s highly virtualized environments, and constant stream of patches, updates, and OS upgrades, keeping a backup site in sync with a production environment adds to an IT staff’s workload. Here again, a suitably chosen cloud DR service provider would be able to help. For example, a provider might institute change management procedures to ensure all modifications in a production environment are carried over to the backup environment.
One theme that I keep noticing after both major disasters and everyday outages is that many companies simply do not have the time or the staffing power to update DR plans and conduct tests on a regular basis. The results of one recent study found that 90 percent of IT decision makers believe their data is vulnerable in a disaster.
Consider a cloud disaster recovery provider
A suitable cloud disaster recovery provider could provide the workers and expertise to help evaluate risks, conduct a business impact analysis, and develop a DR plan. The provider’s staff could then help with putting recovery processes into place, testing the plans, and ensuring services can be restored in the timeframes needed. Out-tasking these items to a cloud DR provider frees up your IT staff for other work.
Considering these factors, cloud-based DR services offer an alternative to legacy DR approaches and are ideal for some organizations that could not previously afford to implement disaster recovery or found it to be too time-consuming a task.
What does change management have to do with the second law of thermodynamics? I know it might initially sound like a stretch to relate these two things together, but bear with me. (It won’t be as tenuous as the connection between Gangnam Style and IT disaster recovery, I promise.)
What IS change management, anyway?
Change management, from a recovery perspective, is the process of reflecting the changes you make in your IT production environment into your IT disaster recovery environment. This is so that if you ever DO need your recovery environment – knock on wood – it will still be compatible with your production environment and you have the right servers, hypervisors, operating systems, network, and storage connected to your data. Without an IT disaster recovery environment that mirrors your IT production environment, your recovery will likely fail.
Over time, however, we all know that even keeping up with IT production change management is a challenge. (Every IT Director or IT Manager dreads the nightmare scenario of the seemingly innocuous change made at 3am on Sunday morning that ends up taking down the entire environment.) Without rigorous change management processes, the process of unfurling the damage is pretty darn difficult. So if most IT staffs don’t even have time for PRODUCTION change management, can you imagine how often they would have time for RECOVERY change management? Yeah: NEVER.
So what the heck is the second law of thermodynamics?
The second law of thermodynamics states, in a nutshell, that everything tends towards entropy, because “isolated systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium—the state of maximum entropy.” ⇐This last sentence comes from Wikipedia, and was written by people far smarter than me. However, it’s just a fancy of way of saying that everything always devolves to the lowest level of effort. That being the case, the second law of thermodynamics also explains why my house is always a mess and why it’s so hard to stick to a diet. Given that it takes work and effort to clean up my house, the easiest thing to do is to push off any tidying up until the next day…and the next…and the next. Given that it takes time and effort to make and toss a salad and go to the gym, the easiest thing to do is just to pull out the chips and guacamole for a quick lunch on the couch.
This is also the same reason why IT staffs almost never perform change management for their recovery environments. It’s always #21 on a 20-item to-do list, and no one ever gets through their to-do lists. Bottom line is, it takes too much effort to rigorously record production changes and ensure they are flowed into recovery. Therefore, it never happens.
So what can be done about it?
I bring this up because at SunGard AS, we have a service offering called the Managed Recovery Program (MRP) that can help reverse the tide. I like this little video describing exactly how MRP works:
Just like cleaning your house, or sticking to a health regimen, you may need outside help to get results. Just as you might hire a housekeeper or part-time cleaning lady for your house, or a personal trainer or dietician for your body, you might leverage SunGard’s MRP for change management. You get to augment your staff with a dedicated Service Delivery Manager, whose primary job is to ensure that change management happens as a part of the lifecycle of your disaster recovery program. To do this more effectively, we have developed tools like a recovery configuration management database, or CMDB, that make the change management process much, much easier. With a few clicks of a mouse, you can easily notify your Service Delivery Manager of a single change (like a memory upgrade to a server) or even a bulk change (like the fact that you’ve upgraded multiple servers to Windows 2008 from Windows 2003). Check out our video demo-ing how change management is made easy:
A bonus of this new tool – which we’ve customized for the recovery use case – is that you can easily visualize your IT production environment as well, including any application interdependencies. Now isn’t that coming a long way from doing this via spreadsheet? Check out the video below to see how:
The best part is…SunGard MRP customers get to take advantage of these tools for no additional charge. It’s part of the service we provide. Now, I suppose it’s time for me to resist the natural pull of the second law of thermodynamics and finish up this blog post, get off the couch, and go for an afternoon run!
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery professionals tend to be perceived as the “Chicken Littles” of the world. We’re always running around exhorting people to be prepared for the “unthinkable.” Sadly, the unthinkable happened in Boston last week. Tragedies like these can take a psychological toll that lasts far beyond the time it takes for you to get back into your building once the “Do Not Cross” tape is taken down. People are companies’ most important assets, as they are the ones who help get the systems, databases, and applications back up and running — and they are frequently the ones most overlooked when companies are building their business continuity or disaster recovery plans.
I am encouraged to see that more and more often, companies ARE including their workforce in their BC/DR plans. What happened in Boston got me thinking more and more about cases where your IT systems are up and running, your building is undamaged, there is no physical reason why your employees cannot enter the building, and yet your employees STILL require somewhere else to work. You might be thinking, “How can this be?”
Well, think about what happened in Boston – let’s imagine that your company had offices near the site of the explosions, or within the perimeter of the lockdown. First of all, your employees COULD NOT have returned to work due to the initial investigation, followed by the order to stay home on Friday, April 19th (which affected nearly 5 million Bostonians and cost the city some $333 million, according to some conjecture by Bloomberg Businessweek). But there is also a psychological cost, in addition to the financial: wouldn’t it be understandable if some of your employees were reluctant to return to “the scene of the crime,” due to the fears and memories they may still retain?
I have another example from several years ago. I was working for a Silicon Valley company whose accounting department was moved to a multi-story building away from the main campus due to lack of space. When the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake struck, most of the employees were so shaken (no pun intended) that they wouldn’t return to the building. A skeleton staff returned to recover essential functions like payroll and accounts receivable until alternate work space was located. And because this event could have seriously impacted our financial future, I got the funding that I had requested the previous summer to put together my first ever disaster recovery plan – that included people.
Dr. Robert Chandler, director of the Nicholson School of Communication, has stated that employees might be emotionally blocked from entering a building if it triggers unpleasant memories. In addition to the examples above, an act of workplace violence such as an active shooter incident could also keep employees away from their workplace. Dr. Chandler talks about how the cameras focus on the SWAT team and the shooter, but completely ignore the survivors who, after entering the building, go into their office or cubicle, curl up, and cry.
While we’re on the topic of workplace violence, I will just mention that there are many actions that you can take to minimize the risk, even if you cannot 100% guarantee it will not happen. For example, new-hire and ongoing background checks, physical security, and employee harassment training are obvious requirements that are sometimes mandated. I also recommend that you consider active shooter response training and exercises, pre-arranged employee counseling services (perhaps as an extension of your EAP program), and adding work area recovery to your BC plan.
But no matter the actual cause, there are good reasons to have alternate workspace in the event of a disaster. Depending on the industry in which your company is engaged, work-from-home or work-from-Starbucks® might not be appropriate strategies. Your company might be in an industry where your employees cannot work in a non-private place like home or their local coffee shop due to regulations like HIPAA or other mandates for information security.
We can never guarantee against the unthinkable. But we CAN prepare and get our employees the help and resources they need to come out the other end of the dark tunnel. We owe it not only to our employer, but also to our co-workers.
Finally, I want to say that my heart, thoughts, and prayers are with the victims, our courageous law enforcement officers, and everyone else affected by the Boston tragedies. May all of you all get whatever assistance you need to come back into the light.
When I joined SunGard a year and a half ago, I had a very clear charter: to extend our business continuity/disaster recovery software offering and use it to usher in a new era of business continuity assurance. We decided to do this by putting the customer at the center of our product development process. We literally met with hundreds of our customers to understand their pain points, challenges, and future needs. Consequently, we learned a VERY important lesson – one that has served as our “North Star” as we built this product: it’s not just about sitting down to create a knee-jerk business continuity plan to fulfill a compliance requirement. It IS about business outcomes, being operationally resilient, and instilling a sense of confidence that those outcomes can be achieved for business leaders and business continuity professionals alike.
Over the course of the last 15 months, our customers have invested their valuable time with us prototyping, designing, and every 3 weeks, joining us to observe our latest and greatest software build. For that, I’d like to thank them – without their insight and help, we could never have created something that so well addresses their specific needs. The good news is that my team and I will continue to work with them every day – the true business continuity and disaster recovery heroes – to take their guidance and feedback directly into the product. Hear from SunGard’s disaster recovery and business continuity customers on what their experience was like to help us create this new product.
Speaking of which, what is this next-generation business continuity/disaster recovery software called? It’s SunGard AssuranceCM, and we are unveiling it at DRJ Spring World 2013 in Orlando today – so if you happen to be there, stop by our booth to see what we’ve been up to. We will be making SunGard AssuranceCM generally available as a Software-as-a-Service offering on May 31, 2013.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Has Changed
Since the 1980s, business continuity management has seen numerous shifts in regulatory pressures, from data center recovery and Y2K, to terrorism and now state-sponsored cyber threats. Each issue has forced our customers to react swiftly to address these shifts. In addition to ever-increasing pressures from regulators, business leaders today are demanding broader participation in the planning process and increased confidence that today’s plans will lead to better outcomes, These changes are driving a need for a new business continuity approach. Successful solutions must therefore avoid the hazards of all past approaches.
The new approach must be enable business continuity and disaster recovery planners to capture valuable input from less “technical” novice planners (we call them the “Innocent Bystanders”) AND operate under a shrinking service budget. This means less of a focus on static plans and templates – and by the way, if you’d like a free disaster recovery plan template, we’re happy to provide one to you – and more of a focus on a solution that is visual, logical, and smart enough to anticipate hazards that could cause companies to detour from their destination, which is positive business outcomes.
As I mentioned earlier, we started from the perspective that it wasn’t just about compliance. Business Continuity Assurance has to go beyond that to deliver what ultimately matters the most for our customers: better outcomes and increased confidence. Business continuity and disaster recovery professionals uniformly told us that for them, it’s about engaging the whole company to find the vulnerabilities that matter so that they can guide the next best action, expect change and accommodate it often, and then take what they’ve learned back into the planning cycle and share it across the company. This is how confidence in plans is created and better outcomes are delivered.
The 2012 hurricane season has thankfully come to an end and now is the time for businesses to prepare for winter storms. As some parts of North America have been experiencing a milder winter, winter storms can still and will occur – take winter storm Nemo that plagued the Northeast in early February for example.
On average, the United States has roughly four catastrophic winter storms annually with storms occurring most commonly in the northeastern United States. Being prepared is key, in some ways, winter storms can be the most challenging weather systems because they spawn so many types of emergencies.
Blizzards, electrical storms, hail, high winds, ice, sleet, and snow can contribute to communications failures, power outages, and risks to your buildings. Storms also lead to many driving accidents and you can lose critical personnel to injuries from slips and falls.
You need to prepare for all events that may occur, from damage to buildings to your business to your people. All three need to be part of the business continuity plan and part of the testing of your plan. As companies strive to meet the demand for continuous service, they expect 24/7/365 availability. However, the average organization’s requirement for recovery time objective (RTO) from an outage now ranges between two and 24 hours.
To help better protect your organization from the impact of winter storms, below you will find a checklist to gauge where you stand on preparing for winter storms. As you read the list, consider the impact each of the items would have, if they occurred, on your operations.
Building managers unable to get to the building to assess and mitigate damage
Communications infrastructure failures
Freezing and flooding of interior building areas that may result in ceilings collapse
Gutter clogging with ice dams, leading to leaks
Hazardous material accidents
Power outages, causing building environmental controls to shut down
Roof damage or collapse due to ice, snow, or fallen trees
Structural damage or collapse
Transportation accidents or closed roads that trap people in or out of your building
Lack of corporate presence during recovery
Lack of lodging/logistics
Not focused on recoveries
Team players not available to travel
When it comes to the business itself, you need to consider a winter storm’s influence on several areas of operation. Run through this checklist and determine how you would satisfy these conditions if problems arose:
Customers expect supplies and services to continue—or resume rapidly
Employees expect both their lives and livelihoods to be protected
Insurance companies expect due care to be exercised
Regulatory agencies expect their requirements to be met, regardless of circumstances
Shareholders expect management control to remain operational
Suppliers expect their revenue streams to continue
After going through the checklists and developing ways to address all of these items, you then need a plan of action to use once a disaster strikes. To that end, there are three major steps to begin the process of managing the incident:
Mobilize a central command center, activate a business recovery plan and identify exactly how long the organization will operate in a recovery state, and plan accordingly.
Following-up closely is the need for your organization to carefully document your processes, both in terms of how to recover and how to operate.
You also need to practice and refine processes using a variety of scenarios.
In today’s 24×7 business world, application availability is critical. And catastrophic events (including natural disasters in major urban areas) in recent years around the globe have simply reconfirmed how essential an offsite option for production application availability is in any disaster recovery (DR) plan.
Fortunately, organizations using the popular EMC Avamar disk-based backup solution might be able to leverage their investment in that technology to create a true offsite application availability solution.
In fact, relatively new capabilities such as the inclusion of Avamar software in VMware vSphere 5.1, as well as enhancements to the core Avamar product suite offering improved integration with Data Domain and a media access node to support long-term tape archiving, offer synergistic benefits if applied to an offsite application availability DR effort.
With growing market adoption, now is an ideal time for Avamar customers to ask how best to establish a DR strategy, off that primary production backup investment, which integrates seamlessly and creates a true offsite application availability solution.
Here are some of the criteria that may help drive this decision:
Application tiering: Avamar is a disk-based backup solution that utilizes efficient, source-side deduplication capabilities to significantly decrease the size of the backup and the backup window. This enables bandwidth optimization in replicating a copy of that Avamar backup offsite. But the trade-off for savings in data footprint is balanced by data restoration needs. How do you recover the environment from an Avamar backup format to live system state? Application tiering takes into account the business criticality of the protected applications. The majority of IT workloads can be accommodated with an RTO (recovery time objective) of 24 hours or less, but some applications may require synchronous or asynchronous replication to a replica instance of the production environment running in a public or private cloud configuration.
2nd copy utility storage consumption: Does your DR solution for your Avamar environment need dedicated infrastructure, or can your organization realize the economic benefits of utilizing storage as a utility? The type of data, length of retention, size of data footprint, and organizational budget approach towards operating or capital expenditures typically drives this decision. Many customers can benefit from outsourced service providers running cloud storage environments capable of ingesting an Avamar backup.
Restoring your Avamar environment: Does your second IT facility or colocation provider provide computing resources—for both physical and virtual environments—that can be provisioned as a utility as well? This can prevent the unnecessary and redundant expenditure for dedicated compute resources to restore your environment in a DR event.
Managed services, when and where to outsource: Finally, what type of additional services do you need to best support your DR plan for your Avamar environment? Can you manage the replication of your network to your DR site internally? Is that best outsourced? What types of SLAs (service level agreements) do you need around monitoring and management of your backup and recovery time in the event of a disaster? And, most importantly, how assured are you that you can restore your Avamar environment at your test/dev or second IT facility? Will you have the staffing and expertise necessary to restore and bring up your protected IT applications?
Asking these critical questions can help you determine when and where to consider an outsourced service provider to offer you not just offsite disk-based backup, but true recovery for your Avamar environment.
By Madhu Reddy, Director of Product Management, Recovery Services
If your company is like many of SunGard’s customers, your workforce needs 24×7 access to mission- and business-critical applications, many of which now run as virtual machines (VMs). Therefore, in order to keep business operations going, it is essential that you rapidly recover these VMs in the event of an outage.
In part 1 of this blog, I talked about the strategies for protecting VMs at an offsite location. To summarize, I noted that maintaining a replicated infrastructure at a secondary site is too cost prohibitive for most companies, while manual recovery using an on-demand hot-site is economically more appealing, but can be too time-consuming. So what’s a savvy IT Director to do to set him/herself up for the successful recovery of VMs? Well, this is an area where cloud-based recovery services can help.
Specifically, I would suggest looking into offerings that fall under the category of Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS). In fact, more than two-thirds of IT professionals are either actively adopting or at least interested in implementing cloud-based Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS), according to Forrester. RaaS can help reduce restoration times of VMs AND lower the cost of managing recovery operations, and I’d like to take a moment here to shamelessly give you a preview of a new SunGard service offering, Recover2Cloud: SRM (“R2C: SRM”) for VMware environments.
We are partnering with VMware and using their vCenter SRM 5.0 (VMware’s Site Recovery Manager) tool as the basis for our VM recovery-as-a-service offering for several reasons. First of all, for VM recovery, it is essential that the tool we, as a DR service provider, use is one that our customers are already familiar with and commonly use. Secondly, in addition to being able to manage failover between two sites with active workloads, SRM can also take charge of failover from production datacenters to disaster recovery sites. Thirdly, SRM comes with built-in recovery blueprints to make many of the DR processes and steps (discussed in part 1 of this blog) easier and quicker, helping to shorten RTOs, reduce errors, and enforce the use of best practices.
Now that I’ve given props to VMware and SRM, let me tell you what I’m most excited about in our new offering. As part of SunGard R2C: SRM, we fully manage the replication and recovery of your virtual machines, monitoring your environment on a daily basis. On top of that, we offer you a choice of Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) – from 4 to 14 hours, take your pick – like a good DR service provider should. This service comes in two flavors (“Always On” and “On-Demand,”), and what I am most excited about is the way our customers have ingeniously managed to use the “Always-On” model (where we at SunGard dedicate infrastructure to the customer). Those customers who have chosen this model have been innovatively using VMs at their SunGard second site for a variety of use cases, from user acceptance testing to QA testing, all without interrupting VM replication processes. Isn’t that cool? (Obviously, I think so.)
It goes without saying, of course, that using the cloud for recovery effectively transfers your capex expenditures on a second site infrastructure into opex, and buys you and your IT staff time to focus on value creation programs – instead of worrying about DR, an admittedly high-risk, but low-reward function of IT. SunGard’s R2C: SRM offering is no different, and I’m thankful to be able to contradict the title of my own blog post and announce that “Recovering VMs is now a piece of cake with SunGard’s R2C SRM!”
By Maryling Yu, Director of Product Marketing, Recovery Services
Three weeks ago, I flew to China to attend my brother’s wedding. My new sister-in-law is a local Shanghainese girl of great beauty and brains (I get to call her a “girl” because I am almost old enough to be her mother), and her wedding to my brother was a fusion of traditional Chinese customs and modern day YouTube phenomena…with hilariously enjoyable results.
Apparently, it is a Chinese tradition for the groom and his groomsmen to go and pick up the bride on their wedding day. The bride’s family, however, deliberately makes this process difficult, obstructing their entry and setting up several “tests” for them to overcome. In retrospect, I now understand why my brother called it, “busting my bride out of her bunker.”
When he and his entourage arrived at the bride’s home, they had to each down an 8-ounce glass full of a stomach-wrenching mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and Coca-Cola. Then, they had to pass slices of cantaloupe to each other using only their mouths, which culminated in a few unwilling smooches between groomsmen. Finally, to gain entry to the bride’s home, they had to successfully perform the “invisible horse” dance from Gangnam Style.
Let me digress for a second. If you have not heard of the song, “Gangnam Style,” then you are seriously, violently, and probably irretrievably behind the times. You are pretty much something right out of the Cretaceous period. Propelled by YouTube to a worldwide phenomenon, this K-Pop (translation: Korean Pop) music video with a catchy beat and over-the-top, random vignettes has garnered over 722 million views (to date), and is the most “Liked” YouTube video of all time. (So that you don’t feel too bad, I was a fellow Triceratops myself until I went to this wedding).
Anyway, my brother and his friends became so engrossed in dancing to Gangnam Style that they did not even notice that the door to his bride’s home had been opened. In fact, as they were joyfully galloping in front of the house, one of the bridesmaids remarked to the bride, “It looks like your future husband is more interested in performing than in picking you up.” So when my bro finally finished passing the test and strode up to the front door, it is small wonder that the bride slammed it back shut in his face (!). That, of course, meant that they had to perform a whole new set of onerous tasks.
All of this hilarity was captured on film, which is why “Gangnam Style” became THE default theme song of their wedding…and also why we all found ourselves horse-trotting to it on the dance floor that evening.
I got to thinking about all this, and it occurred to me that there are several important IT disaster recovery lessons – heck, maybe even life lessons – out of this:
First of all, it’s important to keep your eye on the main goal, and not to get distracted. In my brother’s case, his main goal should have been to get into the bride’s front door, not to master the Gangnam Style dance per se. Similarly for IT professionals, it could be argued that their main goal is to support business value creation, not to be distracted by trying to master supporting functions like DR (disaster recovery) per se. DR is important, but only as a means to an end, not as an end in itself.
Secondly, although the song’s writer and performer, PSY, has been a Korean pop star for over a decade, his cherubic face and portly body would have made him the unlikeliest of candidates to become their first crossover star. In my opinion, what caused this global blow-up of Gangnam Style and fueled him to mega-stardom is an application, and one that was not even around 10 years ago. What am I talking about? YouTube, of course (what is YouTube if it isn’t a “ killer app?”)! Ten years ago, without the massively viral properties of YouTube, the song probably would have topped out on the Korean charts and went nowhere else. YouTube now blurs the boundaries between nations, races, and languages, such that we in America don’t even care that we can’t understand the song, we still LOVE it.
Similarly for us IT professionals, it can be difficult to predict which applications will have the most impact, especially in the context of downtime. We often think it’s the ones supporting revenue generation that are most mission-critical, but as this case study about a nationwide retailer shows, it is sometimes those “less critical” applications that have the greatest impact. For this particular customer, certain human resources and finance applications actually carried severe financial penalties that could exceed any revenue losses, should they become unavailable for significant periods of time. It took going through a business impact analysis for them to identify these impacts, and only then could they begin to shift their availability strategies to account for the proper priorities.
If you can find any other IT or life lessons from Gangnam Style, please feel free to share them in a comment below!
In SunGard’s annual survey, 125 Enterprise leaders weighed in on disaster recovery planning. What are their highest priorities? How do you compare? The results may surprise you.
With a myriad of events just waiting to take down an IT infrastructure, recovering from downtime is not a matter of if, but when. That’s why Disaster Recovery Planning is a top issue for many Fortune 1000 executives.
Understanding their priorities can help everyone prepare for the unavoidable – before it’s too late. The survey shows where your peers sit on Disaster Recovery, including:
If disaster recovery planning is keeping you up at night, gain insight into what peers are doing about disaster recovery by viewing SunGard’s survey Infographic. If you would like more assistance, use SunGard’s Disaster Recovery Total Cost of Ownership Assesment to help determine if an in-house or outsourcing disaster recovery is right for your business.