Technological trends in DR

Article by Nitin Mishra

Disaster recovery (DR) technologies can expect to make significant progress in the years to come as organizations begin to embrace it due to their ability to ensure business continuity under any circumstances. Having understood the seriousness of the threats posed by disasters and its ability to disrupt business and result in loss of revenues more organizations are expected to invest in DR technologies.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, ‘Advances in Disaster Recovery Technologies’, finds that the need to maintain communications during and after a disaster to ensure business continuity fuels the emergence of innovative disaster recovery products and technologies. Technology in this field has grown by leaps and bounds and you can see fresh developments being made every day.Interesting technology trends include:

Colocation Disaster Recovery
Outsourcing your datacenter is increasingly being accepted as a plausible, viable response to mitigate risk. Organizations are increasingly looking at focusing on their core competencies and outsourcing datacenter operations to specialists. And the trend this decade also factors in the smaller players, and not just the big organizations. Co-location of the DR environment has several advantages, especially for the SME players, including 24×7 monitoring and support, increased security etc. This is a welcome trend that will encourage smaller players to take up DR solutions that fit into their budgets.

Automating the Disaster Recovery process
Server Virtualization is a crucial part of your disaster recovery strategy. This component offers several advantages: the ability to deploy a standby IT environment at a significantly lesser cost, reduced complexity, shorter recovery times and importantly it allows repeated successful recoveries.
Yet, not all organizations are moving towards high-availability clustering and instant failover, but using virtualization and data replication together is definitely helping organizations maintain their functional recovery environments without the need to develop and maintain a lengthy disaster recovery plan.

File de-duplication is a disk saving technology that eliminates duplicated files on a storage device. By saving only a single copy of a given file the technology reduces used disk space immensely. De-duplication also provides a more granular control by removing redundant portions of a file. While de-duplication is great for saving server space, mission critical application and data actually needs to have more than a single copy to avoid data loss during times of disaster. Applications that require 24/7/365 availability should have replication, mirroring and clustering. Mission critical applications are constantly and simultaneously replicated between two DR sites. Mirroring is a lot like real time replication and data protection but it also works in conjunction with clustering technologies that enables firms to failover to an alternate site in times of disaster.

Cloud Disaster Recovery
Easily, moving to the cloud is among the hottest trends in 2010 and onwards. While companies are slowly moving onto the cloud, building a business continuity disaster recovery plan around the cloud is still on paper. But with the cloud grabbing the attention of both the organization as well as the solution providers, DR will emerge as a preferred point of entry into the cloud for many.

DR through handheld devices
PDAs and Smart phones are seemingly the unlikeliest tools for disaster recovery strategies, but we can expect this technology to play a more important role in DR in the coming years. With these devices becoming intertwined with our lives, professionals are increasingly using these devices instead of laptops, and accordingly service interruptions are becoming unacceptable. The near future will definitely see several web-enabled management interfaces ported to handhelds.

Finally, among all the technological advancements being made in the field of DR and BC, convergence holds a special place. Convergence is the coming together of the worlds of DR functions like archiving and backups allowing enterprises to retrieve and recover data in an appropriate time and manner. Hence, several latest backup products now have built in archiving features and vice versa. Many de-duplication appliances feature replication possibilities to datacenters, core storage locations or even an offsite disaster recovery site.