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Firms Need a Disaster Personality Test By @ABridgwater | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

The process of bringing firms back from the point of massive systems failure in some form has become known as Disaster Recovery

The process of bringing firms back from the point of massive systems failure in some form has become known as Disaster Recovery

A surprisingly high ‘one in every three' companies is said to have experienced and declared a disaster in the past five years, according to a November 2013 survey that still bears enough relevance to repeat now in 2015.

The process of bringing firms back from the point of massive systems failure in some form has become known as Disaster Recovery (DR) - and, we know that this discipline shares a close personal relationship with another core IT industry practice, Business Continuity (BC).

These processes generally feature a set of policies and actions designed to enable the recovery (and ultimately the continuation) of vital technology infrastructure and systems following what might be:

  • A power outage
  • A hardware or network failure
  • A software glitch or even
  • A problem resulting from some form of human error

Testing DR
One of the major problems here (as highlighted in the survey) is that companies fail to keep their disaster recovery plans up to date. Firms usually cite reasons relating to cost and say that the process of updating DR is prohibitively expensive. This means that the DR plan itself fails to get tested... and an untested DR plan is almost as good as not having a Disaster Recovery policy in the first place.

As we know, today's modern IT environments change at an incredible pace and applications are subject to Rapid Application Development (RAD) and Continuous Delivery (CD) methodologies - this means (or at least it should mean) that DR plans are also continuously developed in line...

... but, all too often, it usually doesn't.

Disaster Personality Test
What firms need to do is develop a new personality and attitude towards DR. They need to take a Disaster Personality Test (if indeed there were such a thing) and assess the worth and breadth of the systems that they have in place.

HP has suggested that for something as critical as DR is for moment-to-moment functioning of the business, it should rank with greater importance in firms of all kinds. "[According to this survey] 47 percent of organizations require 11 hours or more to fully recover from a major outage because DR is itself a manual and error-prone process. This only amplifies the damage of a failure, by further impacting productivity, reputation and revenue across the entire business."

Don't wait, automate and orchestrate
The company says that for today's heterogeneous, multi-vendor data centers, planning for disaster recovery begins with automated testing. DR testing uses runbook automation and IT process automation with IT orchestration tools to create automated workflows that tie together diverse tools, processes and domains.

NOTE: A 'runbook' is a routine compilation of procedures and operations that the system administrator or operator carries out.

According to HP, "These standardized, automated workflows accelerate test and recovery, while capturing and essentially documenting the procedures, which reduces the risk that key personnel or groups will be unavailable. By employing IT orchestration tools, data center teams are able to test their DR plan after any significant changes are made to the IT infrastructure, ensuring the plan will be current with error-proof workflows that are faster to implement than manual recovery processes."

DR for the new world of IT
We now have to consider DR as a process that extends data center, including servers, middleware, database and cloud - and it should also reach mobile. This is a new notion of disaster recovery and it needs to happen soon.

Learn more about HP Operations Orchestration at hp.com/go/oo

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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