Tag Archives: Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

Disaster Recovery Planning and Cloud Backup – Part II

In Part I, we discussed the need to have a disaster recovery plan, how to plan it, risk identification, budget and military grade security options. In Part II, we will further discuss additional factors.

Analyse Data for Shorter RTO

One of the most critical elements of your plan is detailing how your business will restore its data to be up and running in a short amount of time. It is often referred to as your recovery time objective (RTO). If you have a large amount of data stored online, you need to identify the most important and mission-critical information that would need restored first to get your business back up and running. This will imply that you need to spend time analysing and categorising your data. Upon doing so, you will know what data needs restored in the quickest manner based upon your business continuity needs and which data is not mission-critical.

Recovery Options

A critical element is to make sure your vendor provides multiple ways for you to recover your data. You should be able to restore data via local storage, the Internet, mobile vault or a virtual machine. You should never put your business in a situation with a data backup company that only provides the ability to restore via the Internet. If you have a decent amount of data, your restore time will not be sufficient to meet an acceptable RTO.

High Availability for Downtime

We live and work in such a way that our businesses cannot afford much, if any, downtime at all. You need to be absolutely certain how much time your business can afford to lose recovering from a disaster. If you determine you cannot afford to lose even a minute, you need to make the necessary investments in backups and high availability hosting so you are still running the moment a disaster impacts your business.

Support Hours

You need to know if your vendor has personnel available on call 24/7 and what their response time is; because you are definitely going to need some expert help in the event of a major disaster. Especially, if it occurs at odd hours in the night.

In short, the disaster recovery plan you develop, the kind of team, responsibilities and procedures you put in place, and the kind of online backup service you utilise will be tested at some point in time in your company’s history. Remember, it isn’t a matter of if, but rather when a disaster will take place.

Why BTL?

Backup Technology Limited (BTL) is a Cloud solutions company that provides cloud backup and recovery services to businesses globally. Your data is securely and automatically stored off-site in BTL’s privately owned, state of the art certified facilities. It is accessible 24/7 with monitoring and support provided by certified experts. Powered by Asigra’s industry leading technology, BTL’s cloud backup and recovery services are available to SMB and enterprise-level companies. BTL has been serving its global clients since 2005 and is proud to have major brands in its list of clients, including The British Red Cross,  BBC, Siemens, Liverpool Soccer, and many others. For a list of additional BTL customers, go to: https://www.backup-technology.com/about-btl/customers

What are the Most Attractive Features of the Cloud?

What are the most attractive features of the Cloud? Is it the its dependability? Its scalability? Its flexibility? Its high availability? and/or its disaster recovery features? Well, it all depends on what your company’s needs are.

If your company has a low Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective), then the cloud will be the right choice for you. Cloud vendors are able to promise uninterrupted customer service and 99.999% (with five nine’s) uptime for a variety of reasons, including the creation of hot sites and replication sites as part of their basic service. You can look forward to continuous, and for the most part, uninterrupted service if you are a cloud customer. In fact, disaster recovery is automatic with the cloud. Loss of data and time due to interruptions in service are not issues for cloud based services. This is a very appealing feature for many companies.

Other companies might value the fact that the Cloud is adaptable and can be tailored to meet its growing needs. If a business needs to expand its cloud services, it can do so immediately, with no delay. A company can have access to cloud services as soon as they require them because hardware and software do not need to be purchased in order to upgrade a company’s service.

When a company opens a new branch office, there needs to be no lag time to offer the new office access to the head office data, and files on the web, thanks to the cloud. This gives companies greater flexibility, knowing that their employees can have access to data in the cloud almost as soon as they need it. It makes opening new branch offices much easier. In fact, it might just be a deciding factor when a company decides to expand its operations.

Then, there are companies that might value the fact the cloud mobility offers its employees. The cloud makes it possible for business travellers to travel light, and access their data or documents anytime, wherever they are in the world. They can become paperless travellers needing only a smartphone, tablet or notebook in order to access the cloud. Travelling for business has never been so easy, thanks to the cloud.

And finally, some companies may simply value how cost effective it is to access cloud based service. No huge capital outlay is required to engage with the cloud and cloud related costs can be managed very efficiently. For cost conscious companies, the cloud is a godsend allowing them to add cloud based services as they need them and not having to worry that it will break the bank.

Therefore, the cloud has many attractive features which will increase over time as cloud technology keeps improving. It just depends which features your company values most, but rest assured that your company won’t be disappointed by what the cloud has to offer.

Top Ten Reasons to Leave your Cloud Backup Service Provider – Part I

Business relationships are important. You have done your homework. You have researched and tested several solutions and settled on one that you thought was a great cloud backup vendor. Before you picked this company, you considered several factors, such as: technology, experience, financial status, reputation, security, compliance, support, certification, scalability, and trust. But, now, the vendor is taking it all for granted and is providing you with substandard services, resulting in not so good relationship.

Is your relationship with your cloud backup vendor healthy? If your business relationship starts to show some signs of stress, chances are the relationship will die at one point. Perhaps, it is time for you to gauge your business relationship. If you notice any or all of the following points, you might be in a bad relationship:

1/ Data Backup – the company doesn’t backup all of your data across all operating systems, and on mobile devices. Are you using various backup solutions across operating systems (iOS, Windows, etc.) and across mobile devices?

2/ Appliance – Is the vendor appliance centric? Do you find yourself spending more than what you planned for appliances? Is the vendor requesting you to acquire additional appliances to match with your backed up data? Relying heavily on appliances might not be an ideal solution. Cloud centric solutions, however, offer unlimited scaling when your data grows. Is your data being tethered to an appliance instead, and as a result, forcing you to delete data and/or buy bigger appliance to gain extra space for your growing data?

3/ SLA – Service Level Agreements are very important. SLAs have a purpose and that is why a great deal of effort is put into preparing them. Does the vendor execute per signed and approved SLA?

4/ Price – the price the vendor is charging you varies all the time, and is complicated, and you can not figure out how the pricing model works. Is it per GB of raw or compressed data? Do you get credit for not recovering data, say, in the past one year?

5/ BLM – Does your vendor treats all data the same and back them all up in the same vault? Keep in mind that all data has the same value. The older a data gets, the less important it becomes. So, mission-critical data should be stored separately with clearly defined RTO and RPO while less important data should be stored in less expensive vaults. Intelligent software have the ability to automatically segment the data into these two tiers.

If you decide to move your services to a new vendor, make sure that you don’t end up with the same problems as the vendor you just switched from. Insist on asking the new vendor to help with the data migration, at least consultation help. Remember that choosing a cloud backup service provider is not a simple task; and the vendor you choose could end up causing you to go out of business.

In Part II, we will discuss other five factors that affect your relationship with your vendor, such as bandwidth throttling; data centre location; vendor lock-in; DRaaS; and periodic vendor research results.

Data Protection for Virtual Machines—Some Concepts

Virtual machine protection is one of the most challenging tasks of cloud computing. More than backing up the data, it is recovering the data that needs focus. Defining a few metrics upfront will help organisations backup and recover their data efficiently.

The most important metric in Virtual machine recovery is Recovery Time Objective (RTO). How quickly must the virtual machine be recovered and made operational in the event of disaster or human error? This metric has to be defined by the business managers and not the IT personnel. The answer to this question will vary with the kind VM that needs to be recovered. If the VM is mission-critical, the RTO will be very tight and the organisation may need to be able to switch to a hot site or disaster recovery site at the point of failure. They will have to select a continuous backup option with continuous mirroring / replication of data to an alternate site for high availability. If the VM is non-critical, organisations can afford to go slow on the recovery. The organisation can afford to wait for the recovery of the primary server for a specified time frame.

Closely linked with RTO concept is the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) concept. The recovery point objective specifies the acceptable data loss window. Can the organisation afford to lose a few minutes or a few hours of data inputs? This is because the data input at the point of failure may not have been saved and may not be available to the organisation for recovery. If the organisation cannot afford to lose even a few minutes of data entry, the data protection strategy that should be selected is a continuous data backup system. If a few hours of data loss does not make much of a difference, the organisation can afford to set up scheduled backup systems.

An unfortunate aspect of virtual machine deployment is the potential for creating Virtual Machine sprawls. This is because virtual machines can be easily created on the fly and no additional hardware or software needs to be requisitioned. The resource impact of these rogue virtual machines can be immense and organisations that have this problem on hand will have to undertake the exercise of rationalising their VM deployments or provisioning for time required for backing up and recovering these machines.

It should be noted at this point in the discussion that there may be several adjunct systems that need to be recovered along with the VM. The Recovery Time Objective and the Recovery Point Objective that may be defined by the business must take into consideration the time required for the recovery of these systems in addition to the recovery of the VM.

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