Are you prepared?

DQW Bureau
06 Apr 2009

One morning when the IT manager of an organization walked into his office, he
had a pressing situation in hand. The CEO of the company had informed him that
he had lost crucial data, owing to an external virus attack. There was a major
power failure and the data center, too, required his immediate attention. As an
IT manager, you would never want to be in a situation similar to the above.
While you are busy chasing your dream project, a disaster may be on its way.
This is exactly why an organization, irrespective of its size, needs a Disaster
Recovery (DR) plan.

According to a Symantec Disaster Recovery Research Report in 2008, that
included responses from 1,000 people from 15 countries, including IT managers
and C-level decision makers responsible for DR plans, 30 percent of DR plans,
which are tested at least once per year, fail.

Why plan?

Disaster can also come in the form of natural mishaps. When hurricanes
Katrina and Rita struck America, the IT staff and crisis managers of many
organizations had to deal with, floods, power cuts and much more to keep their
data centers running. Therefore, you cannot really know when the next disaster
is round the corner.

Srikant Chakrapani, Director-Enterprise Solutions, Hitachi Data Systems
opined, “Even a temporary loss of critical applications can cause serious
economic impact on the company, and an extended outage can threaten its
existence. Regulatory and competitive pressures have motivated IT executives to
address the issue of real-time protection of critical data assets in the event
of a disaster or an extended outage.”

Sharing a similar point of view, Ajay Verma, Director-Channels and Alliances,
Symantec India, added, “Today, businesses view a greater percentage of their
applications as 'mission-critical.' With a rapid increase in mission critical
applications, combined with the continued growth of stored data-both physical
and virtual-it is crucial that organizations incorporate a comprehensive, proven
disaster recovery plan into the overall business strategy.”

Vijayant Rai, Director-Channels, India and SAARC, Computer Associates, added
that according to various industry analysts, overall downtime costs the company
an average 3.6 percent of its annual revenue. In today's market, most
organizations cannot afford to lose out on that kind of margins. “Today, the
smallest bit of downtime can translate into real and significant costs and
productivity decreases because employees are unable to work; business is lost
because orders cannot be taken; and customer satisfaction declines as your
downtime turns into their downtime,” stated Rai.

Opportunities for SPs

While the large corporations do not mind allocating major portions of their
revenue for IT budget, smaller organizations are also realizing the importance
of having a redundant DR plan. In the last few years, small and medium
businesses (SMBs) have been undergoing a steady revolution by conducting an
increasing amount of business electronically, both internally among employees as
well as externally with customers, suppliers and other business partners.

Verma of Symantec mentioned, “SMBs typically have small budgets and little or
no dedicated IT staff, so cost and simplicity of operation are important. Good
data availability and secure backups have become critical because so many SMBs
rely on data to run their business. All this information is part of the strategy

Sandeep Balani, Partner Sales Manager, Novell India, said, “Earlier DR was a
very niche area and only a few partners would offer a solution around this. But
with several organizations shifting their focus from expensive and complex DR
solutions to innovative and cost effective ones, the scope for solution
providers (SPs) have increased. This is because it requires very little
integration skills and is simple to configure and set up in a customer's


Most organizations start with the initial premise of protecting data during
an eventuality. Hence maintaining business continuity for their clients, is an
area that throws maximum opportunities and challenge before the SPs. On the
other hand Balani of Novell mentioned, “While companies are well aware of the
need for DR, they think of it as a complex and expensive solution.”

According to Rai, educating customers of the benefits of having a DR plan in
place and the business risks of not putting in place the same is the most
challenging part for partners. “Once the customer buys in to the benefits of
having a DR plan, the next challenge is to work with all concerned stakeholders
in the customer's organization to formulate a standard DR policy, which can be
implemented and sustained,” he explained.

Players in the space

The vendors operating in the DR space include HP, Computer Associates,
Riverbed, Netmagic, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), EMC and Symantec that that
provide a range of software, servers, storage and other critical applications to
ensure business continuity.

DR solutions provided by HDS range from tape backup software, electronic
vaulting to remotes, disk-to-disk backups, virtual tape libraries, mirroring and
replication solutions across LAN, SAN and WAN.

Symantec has delivered the latest versions of its Backup Exec family,
including Backup Exec 12.5 and Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5, to provide
comprehensive data and system recovery of virtual and physical systems and
support for the entire Windows Server 2008 portfolio in October 2008. In
addition, the vendor has also announced the new Backup Exec Infrastructure
Manager, powered by Altiris, to simplify management and reduce total cost of


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