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At the other end of the spectrum comes Pella Corporation, a manufacturer of windows and doors based in Iowa. It runs its business on Oracle E-Business Suite applications and Oracle Database 10g using a centralized architecture. It also deployed a remote data center for recovery known as the bunker.
"Prior to the bunker, we had a lot of equipment for component failure and documented plans for a site disaster, although it would have been a lengthy process had we lost our data center," said Jim Thomas, Pella's director of IT operations.
HP supplied its StorageWorks XP24000 arrays, one at each of the two data centers. Both systems are interconnected using Fibre Channel to replicate continuously between the two locations. The bunker is hardened to protect against tornadoes, and it has the ability to run all vital systems if the primary data center is destroyed.
That effort took several years and multiple millions to establish. But you don't necessarily have to spend in that order of magnitude to protect your systems. Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance LLC, based in Memphis, went the appliance route. This type of solution fits best for SMBs or organizations that are shorthanded, or for larger organizations that don't want to bring in further DR/storage expertise.
Lipscomb & Pitts purchased the appliance from STORServer of Colorado Springs. The company's vice president of finance, Mike Yates, said the move wasn't prompted by the experience of a particular event.
"You do not know when a disaster will happen, so you have to make contingency arrangements," he said. "If you lose your data, your business shuts down and you cannot serve your clients."
The 100-employee company uses a combination of EVault InfoStage and EVault InfoStage DualVault from Seagate, all operated by masterIT, an IT managed services firm from Tennessee. It looks after Lipscomb & Pitts' backup/recovery and IT operations. Over 250 GB is backed up each night.
Yates says bunkers, massive automated tape libraries and expensive replication gear are fine for large enterprises companies, but are out of the question for many SMEs.
"For a fraction of that cost, we're just as prepared and didn't have to pay an arm and a leg," he said. "It's a comfort knowing the data is going out every night to a different region in a way that is largely transparent to our staff."
No Time to Waste
There are many different strategies and technologies that can be employed when it comes to DR, all at different price points. The choices made are often based upon the cost of achieving various recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO).
"If you have an unlimited budget and resources, an RTO and RPO of zero or close to it would be great," said Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO Group. "But in reality land for many environments, implementing the right tier of protection to applicable threat risks is a means to maximize budgets and spending."
Schulz suggested that small and mid-sized businesses look to protect essential and time sensitive material with the lowest RTO/RPO they can afford while looking at how to leverage different RPOs and RTOs for other data.
Whatever DR scheme is required, though, it should be deployed sooner rather than later.
"SMBs cannot wait until a disaster of company-ending proportions occurs before allocating the resources to do this right," said Aberdeen's Hill.