IT resilience

Cost savings and benefits enabled by an IT resilience platform

The always-on nature of modern business means that the cost of downtime has increased exponentially in recent years. The need to restore operations quickly and the complexity of the modern hybrid computing environment means that traditional backup mechanisms are unable to keep pace.

IT resilience platforms like Zerto overcome these shortcomings, allowing businesses to better protect their operations from failure – and to recover quickly in the event of an outage. Indeed, the benefits of IT resilience platforms are substantial.

Reducing downtime and outage costs

Even in a 99.999% uptime environment, downtime is still a reality. Forrester Research estimates costs of more than £7000 every hour that systems are down – including planned maintenance. Avoiding unplanned downtime is vital – as is reducing the window of time required for planned maintenance.

According to the same Forrester report, the Zerto IT resilience plan delivers savings of £1.8m on unplanned downtime during the first three years after implementation. This is in addition to a further £695k saving realised by simplifying the process of deploying upgrades, patches and migrations.

Consolidate DR and backup tools

Zerto offers a chance to consolidate numerous operations management tools – backup, disaster recovery, staging, deployment etc – into a single application. This consolidation reduces application purchasing, licensing and maintenance fees – by more than £560k.

Simplify disaster recovery and backup operations

Disaster recovery and backup routines are only as good as the testing that ensures everything is working correctly. Although vital, these tests can be time and resource intensive, consuming budget that could be better spent on strategic projects.

The Zerto IT resilience platform streamlines many routine backup/DR operations, simplifying the testing process and reducing the burden on the IT team.

Streamline technology migrations

Technology migrations are a major undertaking, usually involving many months of planning, testing and staggered rollouts. An IT resilience platform can help to simplify the migration process, particularly when using cloud services.

Zerto has been shown to achieve no data loss and near-zero recovery point objectives using change-block tracking during the move.

Conclusion

The Zerto IT resilience platform improves the data security of your business and allows your team to be more productive through automation. With deeper insights comes greater control, allowing your IT to flex and adapt as business needs change.

Zerto also offers significant cost savings. In total, Forrester calculate an average ROI of 279% realised over three years. This represents a sizeable proportion of IT budget that can be reclaimed for investment in other strategic projects. And with the power and reliability of continuous data protection, Zerto makes it easier for your business to embrace the fail-faster AGILE model – without concerns about the impact testing and development has on operations.

To learn more about continuous data protection, IT resilience platforms and what Zerto can do for your business, please get in touch.

Cloud backup and disaster recovery - Cloud like filing cabinet, hosting or database with folders isolated on white background.

Creating a Successful Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

Cloud backup and disaster recovery is easy to set up. But how can you be sure these provisions will actually work when the worst happens, and you encounter a genuine disaster?

As always, success is dependent on planning, the better your plan, the less risk of failure.

Audit your systems and data

Effective backup (and recovery) relies on having at least one copy of all of your data duplicated off-site to protect against loss of the original. As you begin designing a backup and DR plan, there are three questions to answer:

1.  What data assets do we have?

2.  Where is the data stored?

3.  What tools do we need to backup that information to the cloud?

As your business adopts more cloud services, defining what you have and where it is located is the first step to defining a workable plan. As well as the on-premise file shares, you probably have information stored in several SaaS services, including Office 365 and OneDrive. You may also have hosted email (Outlook 365) – anything stored there will also need to be included in your provisions.

You will then need to assess the available technologies to find one that can backup all of your data from every location. Do you need to install local agents? Can backup and restore operations be completed from a single console? Are there any permissions issues you need to address when connecting to third-party services?

Once you have these answers, you are in a position to select a cloud backup provider and to begin backing up to their hosted service.

Prioritise your systems and data

During a disaster, your business must be able to resume skeleton operations as quickly as possible. This means prioritising applications and data so that they are recovered in order of importance to the running of your business.

You should also look to automate as much of the recovery process as possible, freeing your IT staff to focus on other tasks (there will be plenty during a show-stopping outage).

Test your recovery plan

The worst time to discover your disaster recovery plan doesn’t work is during a disaster. Any kind of oversight could have significant consequences – which is why testing is so important.

By testing the DR plan in advance, you can confirm that:

    • All of your data is being backed up correctly
    • Your cloud backup archives are usable
    • Your order of restore does match your operational priorities.
    • Recovery completes within the acceptable timeframes.

You can then refine your DR plan, tweaking, optimising and re-aligning the various elements as required. Your cloud backup and disaster recovery plan must then be reviewed and tested regularly to ensure it continues to meet your needs.

Define – Prioritise – Test

Much like any other DR plan, an effective cloud backup strategy has three elements; define, prioritise and test. So long as your plan addresses them all, your business systems should be ready to face any outage.

To learn more about cloud backup and how to build a disaster recovery plan that meets the needs of your business, please get in touch.

Business continuity plan is on the table.

5 Steps to Business Continuity Success

If the events of the last year have taught businesses anything, it is the importance of a workable business continuity strategy. The ability to maintain operations in the face of continued uncertainty is now vital to survival.

As you map out your business continuity plan, here are five factors you must address.

1. Backup, Disaster Recovery or Both?

Before the current era of data-driven business, maintaining a complete/incremental daily backup of data was deemed sufficient because the volumes of information could be restored in a matter of hours. But now that recovering huge volumes of data can take days, a backup cannot be your only method protection.

Disaster Recovery (DR) uses near-live copies of virtual servers and databases that can fail-over in the event of an outage. DR can shorten the recovery of operations to mere minutes.

In all likelihood, your business will need a combination of both. Backup for regulatory requirements and secondary systems, DR for mission-critical operations.

2. Inventory your systems

It’s vital to understand your IT systems and how they are used. This will help you categorise them – mission-critical, secondary, archive – and thereby prioritise recovery.

It is important to assess how often data is updated too. This will help you understand how quickly the system must be recovered before permanent data loss occurs, or before operations are badly affected.

Don’t forget to check interdependence either – your mission-critical systems may be reliant on some less-important, secondary applications.

3. Choosing your solutions

When you understand what you have and what you need, you must then choose and implement suitable solutions. As data volumes increase, local storage of backup data becomes a headache – particularly when those archives need to be rotated off-site.

Cloud-based backup and DR services help to address some of these problems. Capacity can scale almost infinitely, and information is stored off-site by design.

You will need to consider issues like bandwidth requirements, time to recovery, support provided during a disaster and how your network and systems need to be reconfigured to support the new backup and replication regime.

With those decisions made, you can configure your new DR provisions to begin copying, replicating and backing up data as required.

4. Building out the DR plan

With a robust, secure backup platform in place, you then need to specify how it is to be used. Define what a disaster looks like, when the DR plan is to be executed, and by whom.

Consider all DR scenarios, from a single server failure to complete blackout and document the steps required to restore operations as quickly and efficiently as possible. Identify which individuals need to take control of a DR event and provide them with a simple guide or checklist to follow for when the time comes.

The DR plan will need to be updated and reviewed as your infrastructure evolves, so ensure documentation is regularly updated. And don’t forget to keep hard/off-line copies of these documents as they may not be available if your file servers are affected by the outage.

5. Testing the DR plan

The worst time to discover a flaw in your DR plan is during an actual disaster. But if you never actually test your resources and processes, that’s exactly what will happen.

Regular failover testing allows you to verify that systems designed to take over in the event of a server issue are working correctly. Importantly, failover tests can be conducted in real-time without disrupting operations because they simply confirm that the replicated systems are operating correctly.

In-depth testing of your DR plan is carried out via a live failover. This test simulates a full outage of your production system and verifies that the transfer of workloads to the failover systems completes correctly. These tests help to prove that your DR plans and technologies are properly configured and ready to take over in a real emergency.

Don’t go it alone

Your choice of DR provider can help to streamline your business continuity provisions. More than simply providing the failover/backup technology plans, the right partner will also be able to assist with building and testing a DR plan that properly protects your organisation during a disaster.

WTL offer a range of Cloud-based Disaster Recovery solutions that allow you  extend your DR to the cloud in just a few clicks for simple, straightforward, peace of mind.

To learn more about disaster recovery provisioning and business continuity services, please get in touch.