The Always-On environment requires modern data centres that are able to scale according to organisational needs. Rick Vanover, senior product strategy manager at Veeam, believes the impact this places on business continuity should not be underestimated.
“In principle, business continuity is a means for a company to truly consider itself an Always-On enterprise. If done correctly, a business continuity plan should give decision-makers the peace of mind that the company can failover to a different site in the event of a crisis or disaster. But it is important to draw the line between business growth and having the back-end systems capable of facilitating that. With information becoming available quicker, this is often where many decision-makers stumble,” says Vanover.
In the recently published Veeam Availability Report for 2016, it was found that the average cost of downtime globally for mission-critical applications is almost $80,000 per hour. For non-mission-critical applications, this decreased to just under $60,000 per hour. It is essential that business continuity and even disaster recovery plans evolve to meet the requirements of the digital era.
Certainly, these plans have been set up in the past, but it has not often been a case of being confident that the theory would meet the practical reality in a crisis. Today, enterprises need to do proper testing to ensure the time it takes to recover data off-site falls within the parameters of their plans.
“Many companies have disaster recovery sites but these might be grossly underpowered when the time comes to use them. So even though enterprises need to latch on to technology that will enable the effective implementation of a business continuity plan and off-site disaster recovery, they also need to be cognisant of testing it to ensure performance levels are as expected,” he says.
After all, Vanover adds, when the time comes to use the service, there should not be any surprises.
“You need to have the peace of mind to know it works, giving you the freedom to remain focused on business as usual. In South Africa there are certainly some bandwidth issues that remain, especially for smaller companies. However, this is part of the cost of doing business and does not mean the responsibility should go away.”
For Vanover, the modern data centre is one that is highly virtualised. The cloud is able to handle just about anything that is thrown at it, but it needs decision-makers to take the first step and leverage that capacity in the event of a disaster.
It also means having the ability to get up and running as soon as possible. According to the Availability Report, the average amount of time taken to recover applications for local organisations is four hours for mission-critical applications and eight hours for non-mission critical ones. Decision-makers need to ask whether they can realistically expect to be down for that long and still remain competitive.
Fortunately, the Availability Report does show that there is a realisation about the importance of high-speed recovery, with 70 percent of local respondents stating they want to take less than 15 minutes for any application or server in their data centre to resume to normal operations.
“Working with trusted partners in the availability space mean companies should be able to use solutions that are optimised to deal with limited bandwidth. Business continuity and disaster recovery are business-critical processes and should be treated as such. This is why having a focus on partnerships with the right solutions providers will pay dividends once it comes time to roll over to a disaster recovery site. The Always-On enterprise demands nothing less,” concludes Vanover.