Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Disaster Recovery webcast from two major vendors is available


Tech Republic has offered (to subscribers) a link to an Internet slide show and presentation about disaster recovery techniques, given by Shane Jackson from Data Domain, and Chris Eidler from Simply Continuous. The link leading to the 19-minute presentation is here.

Simply Continuous started the presentation with discussion of how it helped to major companies: a hedge fund, and a market research company, both in California. The major concept in both companies that tape or cartridge backups so common with mainframe data centers over decades are no longer efficient or effective enough for some customers. An important concept is change-only or incremental backups, and staged restores. Other concepts include deduplication, replication, and easy integration.

One of the major concepts in disaster recovery is dual imaging at other sites, all major companies practice. In 1999, I participated in a weekend off-site disaster recovery “drill” at a site twenty miles away with a Minnesota company called Comdisco.

My own experience in mainframe IT was that backup jobs before cycles (often with Gvexport on the mainframe) were time consuming and delayed the start of the real cycle. One data center took down everything Saturday afternoon and ran dumps and compactions every Saturday night. Univac, back in the 1970s had an effective backup utility called "Secure".

Simply Continuous says it is located in Phoenix, which it says the Department of Homeland Security considers one of the safest cities from natural disasters or terror strikes. It’s main vulnerability could be water supply and electricity given the heat. Simply Continuous is manned 24x7 and SAS-70 certified, but that coverage and certification would be expected of any major data center service.

I did not hear any discussion of optical backup or hardening of a disaster recovery site from possible electromagnetic pulse effects. The United States military has done a lot of work in this area (there are all kinds of papers around about Faraday cages) but major financial institutions and banks ought to become involved in this effort, too.

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