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Simplify your disaster recovery with virtualisation

Disaster recovery is an essential cornerstone of a business’s IT strategy, especially in today’s environment, where threats range from human error and floods to vandalism and fire. While it should be obvious to plough resources into this computing task, many companies struggle to do so.

The Symantec 2012 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey discovered that 50 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not have a disaster recovery plan in place, while 40 per cent say it is not on their list of priorities.

However, the findings do not stop there, as the poll revealed just 23 per cent of SMEs back up their data every day, while less than half do so once a week or more. Of those firms that have put disaster recovery plans in place, a large proportion did so only because they suffered from a data loss or outage.

With the typical cost of downtime standing at a huge $12,500 (around £8,000) a day, can your business afford not to put serious effort into disaster recovery?

One way to simplify this task and make it a lot more cost effective to deploy is virtualisation. Things have come a long way in the world of backup since the days of having to juggle a number of tapes, and virtualisation means disaster recovery is no longer a headache for businesses, especially if they use a reliable, highly-regarded hosting company.

So, how can virtualisation turn disaster recovery into a more cost-effective and simple task? The software technology works by creating a virtual copy of your storage device or server, rather than only being able to run one application per physical platform. Many servers are working at a small proportion of their actual capacity. This wastes your time, resources and efforts. On the other hand, virtualisation reduces the need for you to have as many servers, and this consolidation can save floor space and cut energy expenses.

In terms of disaster recovery, virtualisation helps in many ways. Rather than your company being tied to your physical storage devices and servers, which could get damaged, you have the flexibility to load your files on to another server. Downtime can be slashed to a couple of hours, if not simply minutes, rather than the days and sometimes weeks it used to take to get up and running after a disaster.

With downtime significantly reduced and all of your data stored on virtual servers, your staff won’t have to sit waiting for operations to kick start again. Instead, they can work off your virtual platforms, which will help improve employee productivity.

As the Symantec report noted: “Server virtualisation can provide a level of flexibility that lets companies easily move their computing capacity when a disaster strikes a main data centre facility. One of the selling points of virtualisation, in fact, is its ability to provide better disaster recovery solutions for organisations.”

Of those businesses that have moved to server virtualisation, 89 per cent have seen disaster preparedness improve. Make sure you enjoy the full effects of the technology, though, by using a hosting company you can rely on and that takes the headache out of bouncing back from incidents.

The benefits of choosing virtualisation to boost your disaster recovery strategy do not end there. It should also be remembered the technology can be used for your desktops, which you need to access data centres. By deploying this type of virtualisation, employees can load and access desktops from any machine, rather than being tied to the office. So, should disaster strike, they can keep going.

 

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