The State of Disaster Recovery Planning

Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) are supposed to be an organization’s playbook if they need to recover critical data center operations after a disaster. The issue is that in most organizations, the DRP is outdated if it exists at all.

Disaster Recovery is Broken

The primary problem is the pace of change in the modern data center. New applications are moving from dev/test to production faster than ever. There are also more applications. The pace of data growth is also increasing, requiring more and more capacity, all of which needs protection and recovery if disaster strikes. The final nail in the DRP coffin is lack of staff. IT teams are stretched too thin, continually being asked to do more with less or more with the same number of resources.

These challenges lead to ad-hoc disaster recovery planning where frequently very little, if anything, is formally written down and the IT staff must work off of a “rough idea” of what needs to happen if the data center becomes unavailable. This type of planning (or lack thereof) results in a mad scramble to recover when something happens.

The lack of a plan also impacts the data protection process. Selecting backup and recovery solutions using the same ad-hoc mentality results in a sprawling landscape of data protection solutions, with each claiming to be the best at what they do. The ad-hoc approach also frequently leads to multiple data protection solutions protecting the same data; either to back up the first solution (a backup of the backup) or because the use of the first solution isn’t known. Data protection sprawl means there is seldom a “system of record,” the go-to solution if everything else fails.

What feeds the ad-hoc strategy is that sometimes it works. In some cases, IT can successfully recover data and applications, especially if the disaster is not severe. The ad-hoc approach may not have brought systems back online as quickly as users expected and it may cost the organization far more than it should, but it does get the environment back up and running. The organization dodges a bullet and sets itself up for a more catastrophic loss in the future.

Fixing the State

The solution is to move away from ad-hoc DRP. The challenge is that the traditional way of creating a DR plan doesn’t work for the modern data center. The pace of change is a legitimate challenge. DR planning must change to keep up. IT still needs to set service level objectives for applications and data sets, but it must be more agile. In our DR Planning workshops, Storage Switzerland walks you through creating mini-plans that are easier to create, maintain and most importantly test.

You can get a preview of our Agile DR Plan Process by watching our on demand webinar “How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan that Works.” All attendees receive an exclusive copy of our latest eBook “Why Backup Breaks and How to Fix it.”

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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