Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Aleksei Gavrilenko, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Jaynesh Shah

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Taking Backup and Recovery Management Off IT’s To-Do List

Backup inventory plan maximizes value and efficiency

The inability to recover mission-critical information promptly can spell disaster for a company in today's 24x7 business environment. IDC estimates that server downtime cost organizations roughly $140 billion worldwide in lost worker productivity and revenue in 2007.

Much harder to quantify yet equally important to consider are the opportunity costs associated with failed and delayed recovery of vital applications, databases, and servers. Stringent business requirements and reduced budgets continue to place significant demands on the recovery of data.

Yet, like the property owner who only realizes the importance of homeowner insurance in the wake of a destructive fire, organizations often recognize the value of backup and recovery to the business only after an outage that interrupts operations and results in lost data.

Clearly, this reactive approach must be replaced with a proactive strategy that attaches much greater significance to the role of backup and recovery. By understanding and addressing common backup and recovery issues and implementing the most appropriate solution for their organization, companies can reduce the risk associated with unmet recovery objectives, data loss, and business disruption.

Better Backup

The most important step in maximizing the value of a backup and recovery operation is the development of a backup inventory plan.   This step is meant to catalogue all data in the enterprise and to determine the importance to the organization both in speed of recoverability and importance in ensuring it can be restored effectively.  After all, impressive backup success rates are of little consequence unless the right data is being backed up. As a result, organizations must be sure that they are preserving their most essential data, such as a customer database that is accessed and modified frequently every day.

To make sure they are backing up the right data correctly, IT should develop a tiered list of backup and recovery requirements that is aligned with the company's business needs. Once this service catalog is established, it should be reviewed and revisited regularly.

Once the service catalogue is completed, the respective costs of the organization's backup and recovery operations should also be determined.   Many firms fail to balance costs and risk to meet the most effective options.    For example, businesses may pay too much for backup and recovery simply because they are using snapshot technologies and off-host backup for data sets that are not the product of high-volume, mission-critical applications and, therefore, do not warrant such stringent and expensive technology.

Another critical focus area is the development of sound process and procedures in the management of day-to-day operations.   A documented set of operation procedures focused on incident management, root cause analysis, and change management are essential in order to effectively execute the strategy.    Many companies fail to perform root cause analysis, and thus repeat the same procedural mistakes, making it virtually impossible to optimize a backup and recovery strategy.

Establishing service level agreements to define the expected level of service, and then routinely proactively managing and analyzing backup logs to determine whether jobs are completed successfully are also steps toward more effective backup and recovery. And, when backups fail, thorough incident management should be applied to discover and resolve issues in a timely manner.

Rapid Recovery

Without the ability to recover data, backing up data is useless. As a result, organizations must not only devise and follow a recovery plan, but also make sure it works.

A good disaster recovery plan takes into consideration all the stages of recovery and all the components required. It addresses the need not only for data recovery but also the availability of skills and resources in order to resolve any problem that may occur.

Once a disaster recovery plan is created, it should be documented along with recovery procedures, and tested-not just once, but on a regular basis. By testing and re-testing recovery processes and systems, organizations can uncover and remediate any flaws in their backup and recovery strategy that would leave them vulnerable to the very information loss and downtime that such a plan was designed to avoid.

Backup and Recovery Services

Of course, while managing backup and recovery in-house may be a viable strategy for many enterprises, other organizations may prefer to outsource these operations to a trusted third party. After all, working with a reliable outsourcer alleviates many of the concerns and challenges of undertaking a comprehensive backup and recovery strategy in-house, including areas such as staffing, compliance, service levels and cost.

For example, while the total cost of ownership of an in-house solution may be difficult to measure, an outsourcer charges a fixed monthly fee, providing organizations the assurance of a known, consistent cost. Likewise, while it is often difficult to establish, adhere to, or measure operational service levels internally, an outsourcer that sets strict SLAs guarantees performance. Also, an outsourcer with in-depth experience working out recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives ensures that organizations are better positioned to recover the right data in the right timeframe.

Organizations may also prefer to work with a third-party to leverage the outsourcer's expertise in backup and recovery processes and technologies. An experienced service provider can also help the organization understand and address complex compliance demands as well as aid in responding to audits. In addition, a third party outsource provider can also leverage comprehensive reporting capabilities to bring a more structured approach to protecting critical business data.

By addressing so many critical needs so efficiently, an outsource provider may ultimately enable an organization to focus more on core competencies and deploy critical resources to more strategic business initiatives and projects. The most effective providers are those that offer tailored services, operate according to agreed SLAs, and have a proven record of delivering on their promises and a reputation for ensuring cost-effectiveness.

Whether opting to manage backup and recovery in-house or outsource it to a third party, organizations that make these critical services a business priority will be better positioned to respond effectively in the wake of a disaster or failure. By replacing a reactive attitude toward backup and recovery with a proactive strategy, organizations will significantly mitigate the risk of data loss and business disruption while addressing regulatory and legal demands with efficiency and thrift.

What to Look For in an Outsourced Provider

Once an organization decides to work with a provider to manage backup and recovery operations, they should ask a few simple questions to help secure a beneficial partnership:

  • What service levels and metrics do they offer for their backup and recovery service?
  • Do they have a documented set of procedures focused on areas such as incident management, problem management, and change management?
  • What is the experience level of their engineers related to the product?
  • What type of training programs are provided to engineers?
  • What automation have they deployed in the delivery of the service around monitoring and reporting?

More Stories By Bill Watson

Bill Watson is director of product management for Symantec’s Managed Backup Services. Prior to his current position, Bill held various roles within Symantec’s global services and enterprise technical support organizations, as well as positions with AT&T and World Commerce Online, a business to business e-commerce company.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
"We have seen the evolution of WebRTC right from the starting point to what it has become today, that people are using in real applications," noted Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President and Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy and Ecosystem at GENBAND, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The 3rd International WebRTC Summit, to be held Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 15th International Cloud Expo, 6th International Big Data Expo, 3rd International DevOps Summit and 2nd Internet of @ThingsExpo. WebRTC (Web-based Real-Time Communication) is an open source project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera that aims to enable bro...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
"In the IoT space we are helping customers, mostly enterprises and industry verticals where time-to-value is critical, and we help them with the ability to do faster insights and actions using our platform so they can transform their business operations," explained Venkat Eswara, VP of Marketing at Vitria, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Connected things, systems and people can provide information to other things, systems and people and initiate actions for each other that result in new service possibilities. By taking a look at the impact of Internet of Things when it transitions to a highly connected services marketplace we can understand how connecting the right “things” and leveraging the right partners can provide enormous impact to your business’ growth and success. In her general session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, discussed how this exciting emergence of layers of...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is corr...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that kintone has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...