Disaster Recovery -- Are We Learning the Lessons? Page 2


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While the events of 9/11 raised the consciousness of many businesses in terms of disaster recovery and contingency planning, and the critical need to provide safe, secure storage of company data, Reuter believes that the economic environment has had more of a significant impact on the way businesses have been looking to provide uninterrupted availability and enhanced reliability. "We were already seeing shifts towards centralized storage instead of direct storage because of scalability issues," says Reuter. "And, we were already seeing more focus on the TCO and ROI because of multiple device proliferation," he says. "In other words, while there will always be trends and corresponding products and solutions that come out of political and social situations, more often than not -- business need will drive new IT solutions and products within a business and in a marketplace," he continued. "This has definitely been the case in terms of storage development as companies continually look to access, manage, and protect their data."

So has the storage industry learned any important lessons post 9/11? Lam seems to think that, from a business point of view, the notion of their critical information all-residing in one or two central locations has changed. "From a vendors point of view, openness and interoperability are what the customer wants today," he says.

With that said, you might think that spending budgets on disaster recovery solutions would have increased since the events of last September. Not so, says Lam. "Spending budgets have not dramatically increased, but the urgency to get a business continuity strategy in place has," he says. "Businesses today have to consider their overall business continuity strategy, and how to balance disaster recovery and high data availability in their plans," he continued.

On the other hand, Reuter says: "For companies that are required to exist in a 24/7 data access mode, such as financial institutions, the commitment to contingency planning, business continuity and disaster recovery remains strong both strategically and financially. He goes on to say that for small and medium sized businesses, the events of 9/11 probably have been a wake up call since many of them exist in a static file back-up mode versus looking at protecting the entire infrastructure (hardware, software, applications, systems, etc.). They have seen all too clearly how the cost of downtime can impact a company's viability. However, because of continuing economic challenges and a greater focus on profitability and immediate return on investment, many smaller companies may not have the means or time to invest the significant dollars they need on well-designed, well-thought out disaster recovery solution. This", he says, "creates a Catch-22 situation where back-up, recovery, redundancy and contingency planning may be business critical, but not as critical as retaining employees or paying the rent."

The events of 9/11 have proved that having a credible disaster recovery plan - one that is up-to-date, tested, and effective - is business critical for companies of all sizes. The events have also focused senior management interest on business continuity planning, making it just that much easier for CIOs to sell the importance of disaster recovery to the front office.

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