The next big thing in disaster recovery could be music to your ears

The latest trend to ensure business continuity is designed to make sure you won’t be singing the blues when disaster strikes.

Resiliency orchestration is a comprehensive approach that automates every aspect of disaster recovery from monitoring and testing to enterprise-wide response plans.

“The traditional approach to resiliency needs to change to meet the requirements of the always-on world,” said Peter Gladwish, business unit executive with IBM’s resiliency services. “A holistic approach is no longer a nice to have. It’s mandatory,” he told participants at a recent ITWC webinar.

Sponsored by IBM and hosted by ITWC CIO Jim Love, the webinar looked at how orchestration can help organizations manage their resiliency environments more effectively.

Why a new strategy is needed:

The impact of disasters is higher than ever before, said Gladwish. In Canada, the average cost of an outage from a security breach is $4 million. The damage to a company’s brand can be even more serious. For example, in 2016, Delta Airlines was crippled by a power outage and had to cancel 650 flights. More recently, British Airways left 75,000 passengers stranded after an IT failure on a holiday weekend. “When things go down, it goes viral very quickly,” said Gladwish. “It was a major blow to their reputations.”

Due to these high-risk factors, the issue of disaster preparedness is getting increased attention from the boardroom and senior management. “The last thing you want to say is that you’ll get going on it,” said Gladwish.

Due to these high-risk factors, the issue of disaster preparedness is getting increased attention from the boardroom and senior management. “The last thing you want to say is that you’ll get going on it,” said Gladwish.

From a technology perspective, the adoption of hybrid architecture makes it more challenging to manage business resiliency. Hybrid cloud is becoming the platform of choice for many because it is fast, flexible and cost-effective. But, it can be difficult to protect given the wide range of sources where workloads can originate, said Gladwish. “You start to get a spider web of dependencies, where things are constantly changing.”

A Holistic Approach

The increased complexity in today’s architectures calls for a more coordinated approach, said Gladwish. Orchestration takes all of the platforms, replication tools, different locations, and service level objectives and brings together an enterprise-wide view of business and resilience status.

These systems can do “pre-flight checks” anytime to determine if you’d be “good to go” if you had to recover from a disaster, or it will point out where there are issues, said Gladwish. “You know the exact status of your resiliency posture. One customer told us that his efforts around testing went down eight-fold because of these tools.”

The solution also automates the workflow necessary to carry out a successful game plan if a disaster happens. “In a disaster, everyone is trying to communicate what to do and every department has its own plan. But how does it come together? Orchestration and automation addresses who does what and when, including outward communications with the media,” said Gladwish.

This level of coordination is the key to reducing the risks and costs associated with disaster recovery. Gladwish noted that it will also increase confidence in the capacity to introduce innovation. “Automation and orchestration are the keys to speed, reliability and predictability,” he said. “People need to take resiliency seriously because this isn’t a scenario where good enough will do.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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