Meet the State-of-the-art Disaster Recovery and Backup Plans

By CIOReview | Friday, March 17, 2017

Today, the critical component of infrastructure planning and expansion is not complete until you have thought of disaster recovery and disaster backup. It is highly concerning for the small and medium-sized businesses. Raising alarms on unforeseen contingencies is not much of help, enterprises have to be equipped with most robust solutions, and recovery strategies so that the business could continue to operate even then. In this article, we will be discussing in-trend recovery tools and technologies, and other evolving options on data backup and recovery.

Having a DR plan for an enterprise is common these days. From the big reels of magnetic tape, floppy disks and hard disks to virtual server data protection and cloud integration, the evolution of backup and recovery cannot be described in words. However, something that has remained intact is the objective to minimize the effects of disaster and quickly resume the mission-critical functions. Since not many small and medium companies operate fully in the cloud, the three primary cloud-based data protection (DP) services are in practice today—a) Backup as a service (BaaS), b) Recovery as a Service (RaaS), and c) Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).

BaaS, RaaS, and DRaaS

With BaaS, the service provider takes the responsibility for backing up contracted data in the cloud and has to meet recovery service levels. The customer has to make some on-site installation, in a case of any calamity; IT reconstructs the server environment and then restores data from the cloud. The offerings for BaaS differ as it can connect with systems using a private, public or hybrid cloud, and dramatically depends on the amount of backup you generate, customer SLAs, environment, compliance requirements, and management styles.

A step ahead of BaaS, RaaS enables a full recovery in the cloud.  It delivers its capacity in a cloud-computing model, and hosts server images and creates data backup in the service provider’s location i.e. host’s data center. When any recovery request is made, the provider downloads the images and the data to customer’s site. The recovery plan differs from cloud-based backup services as it protects data and provides standby computing power on demand which helps rapid application recovery.  Also, depending upon the location of the primary or source production application or data in the cloud, RaaS architectural models varies.

Finally, the discovery that took disaster recovery model to its next logical step adding cloud-based failover to backup and recovery services is DRaaS. It is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party and bringing your entire IT Infrastructure back online. For obtaining a proactive Disaster Recovery (DR) Management system, Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives (RTOs and RPOs) became a factor to be monitored. RTO is the point of time that critical IT resources need to recover, whereas, RPO refers to the point of time at which the system will be up and running, again. Together, they add benefits like costs, scalability and support for a wider hybrid cloud strategy for organizations. Further, DRaaS can also spin-up a hot site in the cloud and ensure 100 percent availability at critical times.

New in Market

To ensure that processes and functions should remain operational, a great disaster recovery plan for small and medium businesses is simply a peace of mind to CIOs, IT managers and employees, of course. On the other side, the environment for cloud-based recovery service providers has been equally challenging as numerous organizations are able to push whole servers off their site. Consistently, the IT industry's adoption of virtualization came on the rise as the server backup market for VM backups was lagging much behind. The market evolved and expanded with the advent of virtualization-specific backup tools. Now, one can expect better backup processes because of the better engineering, offering more than adequate protection and recovery for VMs. The selection from the broad-ranging choices available in the market for backup and DR solutions becomes easy when you understand what you’re really looking for.

Lately, for more strategic recovery option, the trend has been converging towards ‘Metadata’ i.e. data about data. The SAS Metadata server—a centralized resource for storing, managing, and delivering metadata for SAS applications—runs its own backup and recovery processes and performs metadata server backups automatically, on a scheduled basis, without the need for administrator intervention. This facility can also be helpful when users want to perform ad hoc backups and perform roll-forward recovery.

Data is extremely important piece of IT system, and metadata is the documentation that describes data. If you know, there already are some domain-specific metadata systems in geophysics, digital libraries, healthcare, and education; but, not enough. Still, the digital world looks for better insights and controls in the characteristics of metadata for disaster recovery.