Thursday, November 23, 2017

Power outages: protecting against disaster before it strikes

by Peter Godden, VP, EMEA at Zerto

Most data centre service interruptions are caused by hardware failures, software upgrades, cyber attacks and human error. Power failures, a familiar story in this era of more severe and unusual weather events, fit into this category too, with many high-profile businesses suffering from a calamitous “act of God”.

Peter Godden, VP, EMEA at Zerto

Take Vodafone’s data centre outage during the severe flooding crisis in early 2016, for example. By now, most companies are well-informed of the need for disaster recovery, but what if there was a way to guarantee acceptable service levels before a crisis hits?

IT resiliency – the ability to maintain availability of applications and data – is gaining more traction as a vital way in which organisations can be prepared for disastrous disruptions to critical IT.

Power outages in particular can span anything from minutes to weeks, shutting down an entire IT infrastructure in the process and costing organisations time, money and brand reputation.

It is a sad reality,that disaster recovery is becoming part of many companies’ everyday operation: Gartner has reported that 72 per cent of organisations have used their DR plan, and last year estimated that the DRaaS market will reach a revenue point of $3.4 billion by 2019. But what if IT resiliency could unshackle businesses and break the cycle?

The concept is achieved when a company is capable of responding to a disruption so quickly that end-users and customers are not aware a disruption occurred. Organisations that embrace the notion of IT resiliency, which is essentially a more proactive approach to BC/DR, focus on continuous availability rather than recovery after the fact.

Automation and simplification of replication and recovery are part of resilience, and ensure that companies can test the availability of their applications and data at any time.

By simplifying your architecture, you reduce the moving parts and points of failure. Looking at solutions that can cover all data and applications critical to your company removes organizational and technological risk. By protecting data through hypervisor-based replication, you can streamline the business continuity process while reducing storage cost and increasing peace of mind.

A clearly documented failover process is a must for disaster recovery to be successful, but an automated one is ideal for IT resilience. Manual failover processes have many steps and each manual step is an opportunity for a mistake to be made.

If you are executing a production failover, you are in crisis and that can cause people to panic, elevating the probability of human error. An automated failover ensures consistency and repeatability. Automation eliminates the risk of mistakes while ensuring fast, seamless and predictable recovery.

The shift to IT resiliency means that your data is mobile and flexible, and nothing offers these advantages more than cloud. As hybrid cloud becomes more popular – enabling you to move, translate, and migrate virtual workloads with ease – a solution for continuous availability becomes ever more important.

This proactive approach to recovery empowers companies with confidence in their ability to withstand any disruption while evolving IT budgets and business priorities.

A power outage, caused by natural disaster or any other means, can leave many businesses thunderstruck. By confidently embracing change and focusing on IT resilience rather than disaster recovery, you can rest assured your business is “ready for anything” and protected against totally preventable digital downtime.