Earlier this month, Paragon was invited to join in a discussion about proactive disaster recovery preparation in light of Hurricane Sandy, on This Week in Enterprise Tech, archived as Episode 21, “The Shocking Truth About DC.” Paragon’s own Francisco Gillett participated during a live feed on http://twit.tv/twiet netcast, along with the hosts, Fr. Robert Ballecer a.k.a., Father Tech (yes, he really is a Jesuit priest), Brian Chee, and Curtis Franklin.
Brian Chee, senior contributing editor to the InfoWorld Test Center and the founder and manager of the Advanced Network Computing Laboratory at the University of Hawai’i School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, an avid user of Paragon’s backup and recovery software introduced the segment by mentioning the fact that he was up all the previous night working on a failed server and how he planned to “…to use Paragon Software to do a restore after we get off the air.” (Quick note, in Hawaii, he prefers optical backup to tape because of the humidity.)
After a bit of a discussion about using DC power in the data center, they jumped into personal favorite topic, disaster recovery preparation and best practices, focusing on Verizon’s flooded data center as case-study material.
When Fr. Ballecer asked Paragon’s Gillett for his recommendation on Best Practices before disaster strikes, Gillett shared the following:
- Have a disaster recovery backup process in place; a solid backup allows you to get your system up and running reliably
- Secure a secondary location to store the archive
Your ability to get back online is based upon how good your backup strategy is, advised Gillette. He went on to say that while a backup of a database is good, businesses in the banking or ecommerce industries should have a duplicate system offsite so they can get up and running quickly and not lose any business. Another important tip recommended by the panel included practicing restores.
During the discussion, one of the chat room participants stated that his boss didn’t authorize him to replace a $12 part on a generator and as a result, it cost the company $12,000 when Sandy hit (48 mins).
In decided how much to spend in a backup and recovery solutions, Gillette suggested that technicians determine first how much you can afford to lose. Evaluate the recovery time and recovery point objectives,”How old of a backup can your system go back to and still function? If it affect money coming in then you definitely need to spend on that infrastructure so you can keep the profits coming in.”
The panel also dove into the differences among hot, warm, and cold IT sites for disaster preparedness as well as the high failure rate of tape backup (50%). Curtis Franklin, senior contributing editor to the InfoWorld Test Center, said, “A greater number [of tech engineers] don’t want to admit they are vulnerable. If you really practice business recovery, on some levels you are admitting that a disaster can occur. When a disaster does occur, you’ll find how cheap backup can really be. Considering the possibility of a disaster, ensuring your backup will actually work is a lower cost than going through the disaster and it doesn’t work.”
Three Levels of Preparedness:
Curtis: The bare minimum is standard tape backup with three levels of tape, rotating ABC. Level two is a warm backup site. And, Level three is a hot, fully redundant backup site.
Cisco: “Best practices for each level: first step, local backup; Secondary, offsite, where it is cloud-base or a secondary location…; third level hot location, running in the cloud.”
Chee: In an academic environment, “My three layers are not that different from the others. It’s data regardless of whether it’s coming from the ocean floor or the bank machine. Have a server that plays like a NAS, flag folders after time, take it from online storage to nearline storage. And have the ability to eventually take it offline. ”
In reference to Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the infrastructure of the Verizon’s Broad Street vault, Franklin’s words of wisdom are well-heeded: “The ‘good enough’ is the enemy of ‘the best’,” and went on to say, “This [Hurricane Sandy’s impact on Verizon] serves as a wake-up call to every telecom that has a presence in low-lying coastal community, and that, frankly, is most of the majors…move to fiber…and that way you keep things on and you look like heros when disaster strikes.”
Get prepared before you’re hit by a disaster. Through the end of December, Paragon’s is offering a free one-hour phone consultation and self-assessment BC/DR checklist.
Watch the program in its entirety: