Blog: Harnessing the cloud to simplify

and accelerate disaster recovery

By Andy Haley, Director of Managed Services & Cyber Security, Meridian IT UK

When disaster strikes, the strength of your recovery plans will determine whether you get your business operations back up and running quickly or face a long and costly delay.  I think many of us have been through the same thought process lately: COVID-19 has put DR back at the top of the agenda and having to unexpectedly dust off DR plans during the pandemic has caught many companies by surprise. On the positive side, businesses had some forewarning of the crisis, which has given them time to respond. But unlike the pandemic, most system DR invocations don’t creep up on us slowly—they come completely out of the blue, and reaction time is critical.

Nevertheless, despite the high stakes involved, many companies still haven’t implemented robust safeguards to protect their business continuity in the event of disruption. Some persist with manual solutions with painfully slow recovery times, while others reason that the scale and complexity of provisioning a full failover site is simply too expensive. So, how can companies take steps to build an effective disaster recovery plan (DRP)—without breaking the bank?

Counting the costs
When we think of disasters, we often think of large-scale natural incidents: floods, storms, fires, and tornados. And while these phenomena can certainly impact your business continuity, the main risks for most companies come from issues such as power outages, hardware and network failures, data corruption, and ransomware attacks.
The consequences of these unforeseen events can devastate companies. Not only do you face a sharp dip in revenues due to lost business, but there are also compliance penalties and mitigation costs to consider. Most of all, the long-term reputational damage to your brand can spark customer churn, sapping the lifeblood of your company.
In financial terms, even the smallest outage can cause major harm: various analysts place the cost of one minute of downtime at somewhere between £4.5K and £7.3K. In some high-profile cases, the impact is even higher: in 2019, for example, Facebook suffered a 14-hour outage that was estimated to cost the company over £70 million.

Weighing the options
Traditionally, companies had a couple of options when planning their disaster recovery strategy. On the one hand, they could back up their critical data onto tape drives, which are stored offsite and transported back when needed. This is a reliable method, but masses of tapes can be tricky to manage, and the data restore process can be horribly slow.
Alternatively, they could provision a secondary data centre as a disaster recovery site—but this requires heavy upfront investment in floorspace, infrastructure and staffing. Moreover, ensuring the DR site will be ready to support critical applications at a moment’s notice requires constant attention from the IT team, diverting them from more strategic projects.

A smarter way forwards
Cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) models offer a more cost-effective approach and can significantly simplify the task of protecting your operations and accelerating recovery times. Rather than relying on tape or your own secondary location, DRaaS enables you to use infrastructure hosted by a third party to support applications when your main site is down.
This approach not only minimizes disruption—it also means you don’t have to worry about provisioning, testing and maintaining a secondary data centre. What’s more, you only need to spin up the cloud-based resources when your local site fails, enabling you to configure a robust disaster recovery strategy for a fraction of the cost of a traditional approach.
At Meridian, we offer DRaaS packages based on the most stringent service level agreements for high availability—helping to keep your critical business operations online around the clock. In particular, our Meridian Power Cloud comprises one of the most extensive IBM Power Systems cloud deployments worldwide, with multiple data centres in the UK and abroad that can support your systems in the event of disaster.

Meridian IT can offer our customers DR solutions to match all budgets and RPO and RTO objectives. We deploy the latest software- and hardware-based replication and recovery solutions, backed by a 24×7 monitoring and management service, run from our Customer Management Centres.

Moreover, as an IBM Platinum Business Partner, we have one of the strongest technical teams in the UK dedicated to the Power Systems platform, ensuring that our environment is always up to date with the latest best practices and using the most powerful tools to minimize downtime and keep your data protected.

To simplify and accelerate your disaster recovery process or find out more about how a cloud-based strategy can protect your business continuity, take a look at our website, or reach out to us today at info@meridianit.co.uk or call us on 01564 330650

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