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Source: Wikipedia

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is the process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster.

Disaster recovery planning is a subset of a larger process known as business continuity planning and should include planning for resumption of applications, data, hardware, communications (such as networking) and other IT infrastructure. A business continuity plan (BCP) includes planning for non-IT related aspects such as key personnel, facilities, crisis communication and reputation protection, and should refer to the disaster recovery plan (DRP) for IT related infrastructure recovery / continuity. This article focuses on disaster recovery planning as related to IT infrastructure.

Strategies

Prior to selecting a disaster recovery strategy, a disaster recovery planner should refer to their organization's business continuity plan which should indicate the key metrics of recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) for various business processes (such as the process to run payroll, generate an order, etc). The metrics specified for the business processes must then be mapped to the underlying IT systems and infrastructure that support those processes.

Once the RTO and RPO metrics have been mapped to IT infrastructure, the DR planner can determine the most suitable recovery strategy for each system. An important note here however is that the business ultimately sets the IT budget and therefore the RTO and RPO metrics need to fit with the available budget. While most business unit heads would like zero data loss and zero time loss, the cost associated with that level of protection may make the desired high availability solutions impractical.

The following is a list of the most common strategies for data protection.

Backups made to tape and sent off-site at regular intervals (preferably daily)
Backups made to disk on-site and automatically copied to off-site disk, or made directly to off-site disk
Replication of data to an off-site location, which overcomes the need to restore the data (only the systems then need to be restored or synced). This generally makes use of storage area network (SAN) technology
High availability systems which keep both the data and system replicated off-site, enabling continuous access to systems and data
Wide Area Network Optimization technology - helps improve disaster recovery and increases network response time [2]. This type of technology will also make sure data still comes through the network even when it's down. [3].
In many cases, an organization may elect to use an outsourced disaster recovery provider to provide a stand-by site and systems rather than using their own remote facilities.

In addition to preparing for the need to recover systems, organizations must also implement precautionary measures with an objective of preventing a disaster in the first place. These may include some of the following:

Local mirrors of systems and/or data and use of disk protection technology such as RAID
Surge protectors to minimize the effect of power surges on delicate electronic equipment
Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and/or backup generator to keep systems going in the event of a power failure
Fire preventions alarms, fire extinguishers
Anti-virus software and other security measures

Related Topics:
Backup site
Business continuity planning
Continuous data protection
IBM Global Mirror
Recovery point objective
Recovery time objective
Remote backup service
Secure virtual office
Seven tiers of disaster recovery
Virtual tape library
Data recovery


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