|By Fredrik Schmidt||
|September 4, 2014 01:00 PM EDT||
It's an oft-cited FEMA statistic that 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. Almost certainly contributing to this eye-popping failure rate is the fact that an estimated 74 percent of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) lack a disaster recovery plan, while 84 percent haven't bothered to obtain disaster insurance.
On an annual basis, flooding ranks as the most common and costly type of natural disaster in America. This hurricane season alone is expected to boast 10 named tropical storms and five hurricanes. Those SMBs that don't want their data to wash away with the rest of their possessions should consider revisiting the planning process, strategies, and cloud technologies that help businesses stay afloat in the event of a disaster.
Be Proactive - Planning Improves Reaction Time and Outcomes
Most businesses naively believe that they won't experience a true disaster, or that they'll just cross that bridge when in happens. However, according to the Aberdeen Group, disaster is arguably inevitable with the average business experiencing 2.26 downtime events per year, at an average cost of $163,674. Since all businesses aren't created equal, and many are constrained by dollars and cents, businesses must carefully calibrate their strategy for response to be commensurate with their risk. A well thought out business continuity and disaster recovery plan that takes into account the following six steps can make all the difference between a business that is poised for continued success, and one that is done in by something going awry:
Step 1: Identify mission-critical applications and data by performing a risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA) as well as taking an asset inventory. This analysis will allow the business to calculate the potential impact of its most likely threats and prioritize their response accordingly.
Step 2: Estimate when operations should/will resume by measuring success against established RTO/RPO through frequent testing to ensure flexibility in the disaster recovery technology solution(s) the business chooses. Companies should keep in mind that, while accurate RTO/RPOs are easy to attain with specific systems, they are very hard to meet when data becomes more agnostic and distributed across more systems.
Step 3: Identify a backup worksite in the event the business becomes unsafe.
Step 4: Design and publish the business continuity plan/disaster recovery plan (BCP/DRP), making sure it is accessible to everyone from anywhere.
Step 5: Make sure employees know about the plan and are familiar with it. When disaster strikes, businesses with a clearly defined plan and consistent communication can more quickly cut through the chaos and get back on track.
Step 6: Businesses should regularly put their BCP/DRP to the test to ensure it meets current and future needs, and to expose areas that can be updated for improvement. With the maturity of cloud solutions, you also have to take into account migrating and living with a more diverse private/public cloud portfolio. Ensure you have a go-to plan for the future to expand into new things like high availability, and archiving within clouds.
Disaster-Proofing Strategies & Technologies for Every Situation and Budget
First, let's get one thing out of the way: tape is not a recovery solution. With the dizzying pace of innovation, today's modern business continuity and disaster recovery solutions available in the cloud have proliferated almost beyond count. This is making it challenging for a business to hone in on the right solutions, so let's take a quick look at some solutions that can fit various needs and budgets.
In the SMB market, one strategy we are increasingly seeing is "community cloud" initiatives, which allow businesses to share risk and pool resources to stretch their dollars. For instance, through a mutual agreement, two companies in the same region could house one of their servers in the other's data center. Thus, rather than having to set up, manage, and pay for a duplicate data center, the companies are each afforded off-site protection. However, in event of a regional disaster, such as a storm, each of the sites might be subject to identical threats. Therefore, this option should be reserved for businesses with shoestring budgets, in areas that face low regional threat risk.
Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
The emergence of cloud-based DRaaS over the past few years has been a game-changer for businesses of all sizes and budgets. DRaaS solutions can enable complete recovery of data and entire production environments in minutes - not hours or days. On a predetermined basis, a company's physical and/or virtual servers send images of their environments to the cloud of a DRaaS provider. In the event of an adverse event at the company's site, such as a storm or fire, a virtualized (and fully-operational) version of the physical server can be rapidly spun-up in the DRaaS cloud. Additionally, the affordability of DRaaS is attractive as it doesn't require capital investment and even some appliance-based solutions are offered as Hardware as a Service.
Despite its abundant benefits, though, DRaaS still doesn't solve the age-old problem of "what" a business needs to protect unless it's set up manually by default. Moreover, while advances in WAN Optimization equate to more rapid transfer of data to the cloud, there are still some bandwidth issues.
Hybrid Cloud Solutions
Hybrid cloud solutions are bursting onto the market and freeing applications from the need to be tied to a physical piece of hardware. They enable applications to live both locally, as well as in a cloud environment, at the same time. These hybrid solutions mean businesses don't have to DIY for their own disaster recovery sites and can instead designate a cloud provider to provide the infrastructure
In turn, these cloud vendors can achieve efficacies of scale and performance rarely seen with individual operators. For a small number of application-centric situations, such as finance institutions, this won't be the best solution. But for almost any other business, it leaves no reason not to move disaster recovery to the cloud.
The disaster recovery landscape continues to evolve at a breakneck pace and very soon businesses will have the ability to operate between many clouds and avoid being locked down by just one. For instance, companies can now choose solutions that enable virtual and physical loads to be recovered inside multiple cloud providers and even orchestrate cascading failovers between different providers. This freedom essentially enables businesses to place their recovery eggs in multiple baskets. In the distant future, we can logically surmise that businesses will one day be able to move between cloud providers on a whim by simply pushing a button and failing over on top of another cloud platform.
Choosing the Right Solution
Businesses can narrow their search a bit further by choosing universal products that address their basic need around recovery (failover/failback) while being as agnostic to hardware and software as possible. At the same time, they should expand their horizons and look for application-centric solutions that enable them to focus on what matters: the actual data that drives their business. Any company that maintains a business continuity plan and implements the right cloud technology to meet their needs is well on the path to saving itself from becoming another morbid statistic the next time disaster strikes.
In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, showed how Esri products hook into Hadoop cluster to allow you to do spatial analysis on the spatial data within your cluster, and he demonstrated rendering from a data center with ArcGIS Pro, a new product that has a brand new rendering engine.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 1,727
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,696
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,653
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
Jan. 30, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 1,626
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
Jan. 30, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 3,213
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore's Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at Big Data Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, disc...
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 3,231
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,783
"We are the top stocking distributor for HP renew products in North America. We can only sell to U.S. authorized partners and resellers for HP," explained Miguel Diazdelcastillo Jr., Sales Executive at Creative Business Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,449
Puppet Labs on Wednesday released the DevOps Salary Report, based on salary data gathered from Puppet Labs' industry-recognized State of DevOps Report. The data confirms that market demand for DevOps skills is growing, and that DevOps engineers are among the highest paid IT practitioners today. That's because IT organizations today are grappling with how to be more agile and responsive to the business, while maintaining the stability of their infrastructure. DevOps practices, such as continuous ...
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 1,447
AppDynamics, the application intelligence leader for software-defined businesses, announced the general availability of the AppDynamics Fall '14 Release. Serving the combined needs of IT and business teams across the enterprise, the latest release provides a comprehensive view across all aspects of digital performance in ultra large scale deployments. AppDynamics delivers Application Intelligence by building out advanced capabilities across the key areas of analytics, unified monitoring and D...
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 1,997
Software Defined Storage provides many benefits for customers including agility, flexibility, faster adoption of new technology and cost effectiveness. However, for IT organizations it can be challenging and complex to build your Enterprise Grade Storage from software. In his session at Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, CMO at Cloudian, looked at the new Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) market and how it is changing the storage world. Now Software Defined Storage companies can build Enterprise grade ...
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,370
CloudBees, Inc., has announced a $23.5 million financing round, led by longtime CloudBees investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. Existing investors Matrix Partners, Verizon Ventures and Blue Cloud Ventures also participated in the round. The latest funding announcement follows earlier rounds of $4 million, $10.5 million and $10.8 million, bringing the total investment in CloudBees to just under $50 million since the company’s inception in 2010. Previous venture investment rounds were led by Ma...
Jan. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 462
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the tec...
Jan. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 2,322
Can the spatial component of your Big Data be harnessed and visualized, adding another dimension of power and analytics to your data? In his session at Big Data Expo®, John Meza, Product Engineer and Performance Engineering Team Lead at Esri, discussed the spatial queries that can be used within the Hadoop ecosystem and their integration with GeoSpatial applications. The GIS Tools for Hadoop project was also discussed and its implementation to discover location-based patterns and relationships...
Jan. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 1,675
The cloud is becoming the de-facto way for enterprises to leverage common infrastructure while innovating and one of the biggest obstacles facing public cloud computing is security. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jeff Aliber, a global marketing executive at Verizon, discussed how the best place for web security is in the cloud. Benefits include: Functions as the first layer of defense Easy operation –CNAME change Implement an integrated solution Best architecture for addressing network-l...
Jan. 30, 2015 01:30 PM EST Reads: 2,228