Disaster recovery plans found lacking

New report calls data centre resilience into question.

A new report published today says the traditional methods of tape backup and restore for corporate disaster recovery (DR) are obsolete and inadequate.

In the report, entitled "Survival of the Fittest: Disaster Recovery Design for the Data Centre," analyst firm Burton Group said advances in business continuity technologies, heavier reliance on IT systems to meet competitive and e-commerce needs and regulatory legislation are forcing enterprises to reformulate their DR solutions.

Richard Jones, report author, vice president and director of the Burton Group data centre strategies service said natural and manmade disasters have been key in demonstrating the affect of inadequate data centre DR policy.

"A number of events, including [hurricane] Katrina, indicate how costly a disruption to business continuity can be for an organisation," he said.

The report said, given the increasing globalisation of business markets, reliance on real-time processes, shrinking IT budgets, explosive data growth and new regulatory requirements, DR plans should be higher than ever on the data centre management agenda. But it points out that, on average, over one third of corporations have not tested their DR plans this year.

One challenge is the fact that, while tape capacities have been doubling every two years, hard disk drive (HDD) technology capacities have been increasing tenfold every five years.

"Growth of HDD storage coupled with the corresponding consumption of that added storage by expanding digital content has created the backup administrators worst nightmare: backups that do not complete in time," writes Jones.

He said disk-to-disk backup and restore solutions, including virtual tape libraries, have grown in popularity within the past few years as a method of solving the tape problem.

The report also points out that DR requirements are starting to feature more and more in compliance regulations. It says corporate DR plans are best served by following the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 17799 standard for information security published almost two years ago, while seeking ISO 27001 certification of that standard for e-commerce and business-to-business (B2B) systems should be a prerequisite for establishing adequate DR business requirements.

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