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Backup and recovery: 3 problems and a solution

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74% of organisations are “not very confident” they could fully restore their systems or data after an IT failure. That’s the finding of the recent European Disaster Recovery Survey 2011  sponsored by IT group EMC and based on answers from 1,750 IT bosses in nine European countries.

Three problems
IT failure rather than natural disaster was found to be the main reason that 54% of respondents had lost data or suffered systems downtime in the past 12 months, the common causes being:

  • Hardware failure: 61%
  • Power failure: 42%
  • Software failure: 35%

With 10% of organisations having a disaster recovery plan that consists of an employee taking home a copy of the backup tapes, it’s hard to disagree with the report’s conclusion that organisations should put more focus on backup and recovery systems.

And that’s where an experienced managed service provider comes in.

One solution
A managed service provider (MSP) which owns, maintains and monitors its own data centre and infrastructure, can deliver a range of data backup services, constantly up-to-date technology and dedicated support – a combination that’s simply impractical to achieve in-house from both a cost and a resource perspective.

In offering these services, an MSP can reduce, and even eliminate, the principal causes of downtime, while at the same time providing the mechanisms for rapid recovery that will enable business continuity:

Preventing hardware failure: If you have to buy and upgrade your own servers, the chances are that budget constraints will tempt you to keep them going longer than you should. Whereas for a managed service provider with its own data centre, maintaining and keeping servers technologically up to date is at the heart of its business.

Overcoming power failure. A managed server provider worth its salt should be able to provide the resilience to overcome power outages. A data centre built to Tier 3 standards – such as Redcentric’s Harrogate data centre and our new energy-efficient Reading data centre opening in January 2012 – will have dual power supply and highly resilient UPS  (uninterrupted power supply) systems.

Recovering from software failure. A good MSP will not only offer you offsite data protection solutions that can safeguard against local application failure but will also enable quick recovery or failover by, for example, switching to a parallel system to ensure operational continuity.

By taking on the cost of buying and running the equipment, by offering a range of backup services and, crucially, by providing experience and expertise, MSPs can go a long way to help organisations meet the concerns for disaster recovery raised by EMC’s report.

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