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Disaster Recovery

With the increasing importance of information technology for the continuation of business critical functions, combined with a transition to an around-the-clock economy, the importance of protecting an organizations data and IT infrastructure in the event of a disruptive situation has become an increasing and more visible business priority in recent years.

It is estimated that most large companies spend between 2% and 4% of their IT budget on disaster recovery planning, with the aim of avoiding larger losses in the event that the business cannot continue to function due to loss of IT infrastructure and data. Of companies that had a major loss of business data, 43% never reopen, 51% close within two years, and only 6% will survive long-term.

Prior to selecting a Disaster Recovery strategy, the Disaster Recovery planner should refer to their organization’s business continuity plan which should indicate the key metrics of Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) for various business processes (such as the process to run payroll, generate an order, etc). The metrics specified for the business processes must then be mapped to the underlying IT systems and infrastructure that support those processes.

Once the RTO and RPO metrics have been mapped to IT infrastructure, the DR planner can determine the most suitable recovery strategy for each system. An important note here however is that the business ultimately sets the IT budget and therefore the RTO and RPO metrics need to fit with the available budget. While most business unit heads would like zero data loss and zero time loss, the cost associated with that level of protection may make the desired high availability solutions impractical.

The following is a list of the most common strategies for data protection.

  • Backups made to tape and sent off-site at regular intervals (preferably daily)

  • Backups made to disk on-site and automatically copied to off-site disk, or made directly to off-site disk

  • Replication of data to an off-site location, which overcomes the need to restore the data (only the systems then need to be restored or synced). This generally makes use of Storage Area Network (SAN) technology

  • High availability systems which keep both the data and system replicated off-site, enabling continuous access to systems and data

In many cases, an organization may elect to use an outsourced disaster recovery provider to provide a stand-by site and systems rather than using their own remote facilities.

In addition to preparing for the need to recover systems, organizations must also implement precautionary measures with an objective of preventing a disaster situation in the first place. These may include some of the following:

  • Local mirrors of systems and/or data and use of disk protection technology such as RAID

  • Surge Protectors — to minimize the effect of power surges on delicate electronic equipment

  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and/or Backup Generator to keep systems going in the event of a power failure

  • Fire Preventions — more alarms, accessible fire extinguishers

  • Anti-virus software and other security measures

 

CARDWATCH SPECIFIC Recovery

CARDWATCH is designed & configured to back up the database(s) automatically and is typically scheduled through Microsoft Scheduler at a user specified time and frequency. This operation should be checked periodically to ensure it continues to function correctly, particularly after a Windows update or changes to Windows settings (including users, passwords and permissions) that may interfere with or affect the MS Scheduler operation. The back up file generated is saved to a folder specified by the customer at the time of installation. If this folder is moved or deleted, the back up file will be saved to a default folder instead, but may not be captured by your off-site back-up utility (whatever that method may be).

It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure safe and regular off-site back-up of CARDWATCH data. In the event of a data loss, CARDWATCH databases can be fully restored from the most recent back-up files available. How frequently you back up your CARDWATCH Data is, naturally, dependent upon your tolerance for lost data and employee productivity in relation to the cost of more frequent back-ups. In the event of a data loss, please advise our Help Desk at 1-877-RSG-SOFT without delay to ensure timely recovery.

 

The Seven Tiers of Disaster Recovery

The Seven Tiers of Disaster Recovery was originally defined to help identify the various methods of recovering mission-critical computer systems as required to support business continuity. The definitions for the various Tiers have been updated as technology has evolved in support of today’s business requirements and their associated Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

The seven tiers of business continuity solutions offer a simple method to define current service levels and associated risks.

Tier 0: No off-site data – Possibly no recovery

Businesses with a Tier 0 business continuity solution have no business continuity plan. There is no saved information, no documentation, no backup hardware, and no contingency plan. The time necessary to recover in this instance is unpredictable. In fact, it may not be possible to recover at all.

Tier 1: Data backup with no hot site

Businesses that use Tier 1 continuity solutions back up their data and send these backups to an off-site storage facility. The method of transporting these backups is often referred to as “PTAM” – the “Pick-up Truck Access Method.” Depending on how often backups are created and shipped, these organizations must be prepared to accept several days to weeks of data loss, but their backups are secure off-site. However, this tier lacks the systems on which to restore data.

Tier 2: Data backup with a hot site

Businesses using Tier 2 business continuity solutions make regular backups on tape. This is combined with an off-site facility and infrastructure (known as a hot site) in which to restore systems from those tapes in the event of a disaster. This solution will still result in the need to recreate several hours or even days worth of data, but the recovery time is more predictable.

Tier 3: Electronic vaulting

Tier 3 solutions build on the components of Tier 2. Additionally, some mission critical data is electronically vaulted. This electronically vaulted data is typically more current than that which is shipped via PTAM. As a result there is less data recreation or loss after a disaster occurs.

The facilities for providing Electronic Remote Vaulting consists of high-speed communication circuits, some form of channel extension equipment and either physical or virtual Tape devices and an automated tape library at the remote site. IBM’s Peer-to-Peer VTS and Sun’s VSM Clustering are two examples of this type implementation.

Tier 4: Point-in-time copies

Tier 4 solutions are used by businesses that require both greater data currency and faster recovery than users of lower tiers. Rather than relying largely on shipping tape, as is common on the lower tiers, Tier 4 solutions begin to incorporate more disk based solutions. Several hours of data loss is still possible, but it is easier to make such point-in-time (PiT) copies with greater frequency than tape backups even when electronically vaulted.

Tier 5: Transaction integrity

Tier 5 solutions are used by businesses with a requirement for consistency of data between the production and recovery data centers. There is little to no data loss in such solutions, however, the presence of this functionality is entirely dependent on the application in use.

Tier 6: Zero or near-Zero data loss

Tier 6 business continuity solutions maintain the highest levels of data currency. They are used by businesses with little or no tolerance for data loss and who need to restore data to applications rapidly. These solutions have no dependence on the applications or applications staffs to provide data consistency. Tier 6 solutions often require some form of Disk mirroring. There are various synchronous and asynchronous solutions available from the mainframe storage vendors. Each solution is somewhat different, offering different capabilities and providing different Recovery Point and Recovery Time objectives. Often some form of automated tape solution is also required. However, this can vary somewhat depending on the amount and type of data residing on tape.

Tier 7: Highly automated, business integrated solution

Tier 7 solutions include all the major components being used for a Tier 6 solution with the additional integration of automation. This allows a Tier 7 solution to ensure consistency of data above that which is granted by Tier 6 solutions. Additionally, recovery of the applications is automated, allowing for restoration of systems and applications much faster and more reliably than would be possible through manual business continuity procedures.

 


This information retireved from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_recovery

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_tiers_of_disaster_recovery

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