A Proactive Approach to Disaster Recovery

A fire destroyed your data center. Thankfully, no one was injured, but your hardware and onsite storage were destroyed. Now what? Disaster recovery, that's what.

Disaster recovery is the process of recovering critical data and applications and getting your business up and running after an unexpected event shuts down your data center. It should be noted that, in this context, "disaster" refers only to unexpected events, not scheduled maintenance-no matter how disruptive that maintenance may be. However, some of the disaster-recovery techniques described herein also may help eliminate the disruptions that maintenance might otherwise impose.

The industry's use of disaster recovery and related terms within the broader context of continuous availability is inconsistent. Therefore, some definitions are necessary to build a framework for this article (see, "Glossary of Terms").

This article isn't an all-inclusive discourse on disaster recovery. That would require several articles-possibly a book. This article does provide the process to determine the level of recovery best suited for your company's needs.

Satisfying the Profit Motive

Several disaster-recovery options are available, offering different levels of business protection. Your choice should be guided by the usual business benchmark-return on investment (ROI).

In any continuous availability endeavor, the return comes not from revenue increases, but rather an avoidance of losses. Thus, the critical factors in determining the appropriate level of investment are cost and probability of downtime.

It's important to get a good understanding of the costs of downtime to determine the magnitude of the investment you should make in disaster recovery. Then, you must develop and test a plan and put the necessary policies, procedure and facilities in place.

Kenneth A. Zaiken is vice president of research and development for Lakeview Technology Inc. Kenneth can be reached at

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