Present Blog – IT Thought Leadership

4 keys to replicate data based on your business needsDID YOU KNOW: The UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) put out a press release introducing the public to the Internet on July 3, 1969.

No company is immune from disaster. It is for this reason that most companies subscribe to insurance policies, develop evacuation scenarios and are developing disaster recovery plans.

This allows businesses who have suffered significant damage to their IT environment to temporarily continue their vital activities. A bit like a generator that provides basic power supply until the power is restored, the backup system is a temporary solution, but essential to maintaining operations.

Today, in order to be better prepared to operate efficiently, a company requires its data, hence the need to properly manage the data. Backup and data replication are your weakest links and most companies do not give them the attention they fully deserve.


Replicate data according to your business needs

Having a server that backs up its critical data is good, but developing a structured replication plan, based on its business needs, is even better. When there is a disaster, the amount of information to be recovered is huge and it must be restored progressively. We must therefore restore systems gradually depending on the specific business requirements of each company.

Indeed, an insurance company, an electrical equipment supplier or a courier delivery service do not observe the same priorities when it comes to keeping the lights on.

For example, an insurance company will recover its policies, its bids and transaction information quickly, while an electrical equipment supplier will seek to regain customer orders and scheduled timetables to deliver the goods.


How to determine priorities to provide business continuity?

It is essential to conduct a comprehensive analysis of business needs in order to establish the order in which the data will be restored and how the gradual recovery of company services will take place.

We must measure the costs, profits and losses associated with the availability of data and plan accordingly. This is a major endeavor, but it can significantly reduce losses in the event of a disaster.

For example, we implemented a data replication system for a customer in the transportation industry. Following a computer failure, the company was not able to provide the transportation manifests for several trucks that were to cross the US border. The trucks were immobilized in a holding area for several days, causing considerable costs related to late delivery and immobilization of trucks and their drivers.

The company performed its due diligence and identified that the costs of setting up a data replication solution were far lower than the losses caused by the incident they had recently faced.

Choosing the right data replication system

There are several solutions available on the market that provide data replication. However, the solution must be the result of a comprehensive approach that takes into account your IT environment and your business needs.
To implement a replication of your data system, the following is a list of criteria to consider in your approach:

•  What data needs to be replicated?
•  How much data must be replicated?
•  What is the nature of the data to be replicated?
•  What are your RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective?
•  On what medium is production data stored?
•  On what medium do you want to replicate your data?
•  How close are your production and your backup sites?
•  What is the bandwidth between the two sites?

Many of these factors have a significant impact on the replication solution you may require. For example, if your production is done on IBM Power server and generates primarily transactional data, replication is very fast because the data is stored as single characters. If conversely you operate on Windows, AIX or Linux and your data contain images, sound, etc., the transfer will require more bandwidth for a reasonable replication speed.

Always keep an eye on your backup system

Finally, even the best replication system must be subject to regular audits. Indeed, there is nothing worse after a disaster to see, that essential information for the proper functioning of the company have been corrupted or lost. We must therefore ensure that data is properly replicated and that the backup system is reconfigured as new items are added to the infrastructure.


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