SunGard Makes the Case for Outsourced DR
February 16, 2010 Alex Woodie
Does your IT department have what it takes to recover from a disaster? That’s the question that SunGard Availability Services is asking customers to ask themselves. Because without the proper investments in equipment and skills, many organizations’ disaster recovery (DR) plans are doomed to failure, the IT megavendor says.
SunGard–which offers outsourced DR and high availability services for customers’ System i applications, as well as nearly every other platform–came up with a list of five areas that it says differentiate organizations that are well-prepared to weather a disaster, versus those whose tents will collapse at the first sign of trouble.
The first sign of an organization that’s ready for a disaster is data center diversity, SunGard says. Because today’s data centers are a collection of new and old equipment from multiple vendors, an organization must be well-stocked with an array of equipment to run its modern and legacy applications.
The second area is recovery readiness. It can be prohibitively expensive to keep secondary systems sitting on standby, idling at a low rev, waiting for disaster to strike. But without these systems at the ready, it can take days to order and take delivery of a new server, delaying recovery after a disaster.
Number three on the list is DR experience. Do you have anybody on your IT staff who has experienced a full recovery of a remote site following a disaster? Obviously, experience makes a big difference in successful DR strategies. After all, that’s why you practice DR plans and switchovers every quarter, right?
The fourth issue on SunGard’s list is Murphy’s Law, and should be a sub-category of number three. Murphy’s Law, if you will recall, basically states “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” With so many moving parts, a DR plan in action leaves a lot to chance and to that old bastard, Murphy. Backup systems can suddenly develop problems, people can make the wrong choices during recovery, and false errors can delay recovery.
SunGard’s fifth issue, DR testing, should be another subcategory of number three. Simply stated, organizations don’t test their DR plans as often as they should (except for IT Jungle readers, of course, who test religiously on a quarterly basis). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that organizations that don’t test on a regular basis are more apt to screw something up when the DR rubber meets the road.
It should come as no great surprise that all five of SunGard’s issues favor large organizations that have the cash and manpower to expend on every contingency. Nobody, really, but the Fortune 1000 have the wherewithal to build the kind of DR strategy that SunGard says is mandatory with its list of five.
But then again, that’s sort of SunGard’s point: If you want the kind of DR capabilities that insure the Fortune 1000 against catastrophic loss, but don’t have the cash to pay for it, then you can pool your money with other smaller organizations through a service such as SunGard’s (or IBM‘s BCRS, the only other full-service DR option), and have a strong and capable DR partner ready to execute the DR plan at the drop of a hat.