Business continuity and disaster recovery

Different companies sometimes use these terms differently and, at times, interchangeably. Technically the Business Continuity Plan BCP refers to the means by which loss of business may be avoided and it ought to define the business requirements for continuity of operations. Technically, the Disaster Recovery Plan DRP deals with the restoration of computer systems with all attendant software and connections to full functionality under a variety of damaging or interfering external conditions. In daily practice Business Continuity often refers to disaster recovery from a business point-of-view, or dealing with simple daily issues, such as a failed disk, failed server or database, possibly a bad communications line.

Business continuity and disaster recovery

The Seven Tiers was defined to help identify the various methods of recovering mission-critical computer systems as required to support business continuity. Business Continuity Planning BCP and Disaster Recovery Specialists today continue to use the 7-Tier concept as it is very useful in illustrating continuity capabilities and at a high level, their associated costs.

The seven tiers of business continuity solutions offer a simple method to define your current service levels, risks and where you really want or need to be. No off-site data Businesses with a Tier 0 business continuity solution have no Business Continuity Plan.

There is no saved information, no documentation, no backup hardware, and no contingency plan. The time necessary to recover in this instance is unpredictable. In fact, it may not be possible to recover at all.

Data backup with no hot site Businesses that use Tier 1 continuity solutions back up their data and send these backups to an off-site storage facility. However, this tier lacks the systems on which to restore data.

Data backup with a hot site Businesses using Tier 2 business continuity solutions make regular backups on tape. This is combined with an off-site facility and infrastructure known as a hot site in which to restore systems from those tapes in the event of a disaster.

Business continuity and disaster recovery

This solution will still result in the need to recreate several Business continuity and disaster recovery or even days worth of data, but the recovery time is more predictable. Electronic vaulting Tier 3 solutions build on the components of Tier 2. Additionally, some mission critical data is electronically vaulted.

This electronically vaulted data is typically more current than that which is shipped via PTAM. As a result there is less data recreation or loss after a disaster occurs. The facilities for providing Electronic Remote Vaulting consists of high-speed communication circuits, some form of channel extension equipment and either physical or virtual Tape devices and an automated tape library at the remote site.

Point-in-time copies Tier 4 solutions are used by businesses that require both greater data currency and faster recovery than users of lower tiers.

Rather than relying largely on shipping tape, as is common on the lower tiers, Tier 4 solutions begin to incorporate more disk based solutions. Several hours of data loss is still possible, but it is easier to make such point-in-time PiT copies with greater frequency than tape backups even when electronically vaulted.

Transaction integrity Tier 5 solutions are used by businesses with a requirement for consistency of data between the production and recovery data centers.

Business continuity and disaster recovery

There is little to no data loss in such solutions, however, the presence of this functionality is entirely dependent on the application in use. Zero or near-Zero data loss Tier 6 business continuity solutions maintain the highest levels of data currency.

They are used by businesses with little or no tolerance for data loss and who need to restore data to applications rapidly. These solutions have no dependence on the applications or applications staffs to provide data consistency.

Tier 6 solutions require some form of Disk Mirroring. There are various synchronous and asynchronous solutions available from the mainframe storage vendors. Each solution is somewhat different, offering different capabilities and providing different Recovery Point and Recovery Time objectives.

Often some form of automated tape solution is also required. However, this can vary somewhat depending on the amount and type of data residing on tape. Highly automated, business integrated solution Tier 7 solutions include all the major components being used for a Tier 6 solution with the additional integration of automation.

This allows a Tier 7 solution to ensure consistency of data above that which is granted by Tier 6 solutions. Additionally, recovery of the applications is automated, allowing for restoration of systems and applications much faster and more reliably than would be possible through manual business continuity procedures.

The Recovery Time Objective RTO describes the time within which business functions or applications must be restored includes time before disaster declared and time to perform tasks. The Recovery Point Objective RPO describes the point in time to which data must be restored to successfully resume processing often thought of as time between last backup and when outage occurred.

Many solutions are available. Choosing the right ones requires that you balance the cost of the solution against the costs associated with downtime and lost data. Some amount of data loss may be acceptable if the data can be captured from other sources or easily recreated. This is not a one-size fits all solution.

The very best practice for any organization is to implement an appropriate blending of these tiers.A Christmas disaster scenario that rhymes! If you happened to ask Santa for a very silly, rhyming, Christmas-themed disaster/business continuity scenario, you’re in luck.

Disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity refers to an organization’s ability to recover from a disaster and/or unexpected event and resume operations. Organizations often have a plan in place (usually referred to as a "Disaster Recovery Plan" or "Business Continuity Plan") that outlines how a recovery will be key to successful disaster recovery is to have a plan.

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Planning. Disasters, unpredictable by nature, can strike anywhere at anytime with little or no warning.

Express BCP is a simple to use and professional Business Continuity Plan template. Created and supported by certified DRII professionals.

The terms "disaster recovery," "business continuity" and "backups" are often used interchangeably. But they’re not the same, and if you want to properly protect your data and mission-critical business systems, it’s essential to understand the difference.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Glossary of Terms for IT, z/Series mainframe storage envronments and recovery methodologies.

Continuity In Business: Exercises and Resources