Disaster recovery requires effective business continuity plans, unified networks

by Xtium Research


Stirling Council serves nearly 150 schools and offices in the Scottish city of Stirling. However, with just an eight-person IT department at its disposal, the council is struggling to manage the approximately 5,000 computers within its network.

In a recent interview with Public Technology, Alan MacDonald, ICT infrastructure manager at Stirling Council, suggested that unified networks, business continuity and support from vendors are key to developing effective disaster recovery plans.

“It is extremely important to consider the positive effects of a unified network, where if one switch was to break, the network would not cease to operate,” MacDonald told the news source. “In an industry where IT spending is going through reform it is imperative that networks do not need constant maintenance, thus providing a particularly cost effective network.”

MacDonald said that a recent Allied Telesis study revealed that 92 percent of public and private organizations rely on their networks, with more than half of respondents considering them crucial components for work. However, with “budgets constantly being squeezed and IT managers expected to do more with less,” decision-makers are searching for flexible and scalable solutions “to meet the changing needs of the business,” he said.

Virtualization’s role in recovering from a disaster
MacDonald advised IT departments to increasingly lean on vendors to provide them with business continuity and the network support needed for disaster recovery. In a recent blog post for Data Center Knowledge, Bill Kleyman, cloud and virtualization architect at MTM Technologies, suggested that virtual cloud hosting providers may offer the best solution.

As Kleyman pointed out, organizations are increasingly moving information to the cloud. But like any other technology, cloud computing is not completely foolproof. Therefore, he emphasized the need for companies to develop top-notch disaster recovery plans. 

Virtualization, Kleyman wrote, provides administrators with the agility they need to create these strategies, while simultaneously keeping costs low. He highlighted some of the virtual cloud hosting features that help with disaster recovery, beginning with using the technology for data replication. Through better storage capabilities and improved control over the wide area network, companies will have an easier time “replicating” their environments. This makes efficient disaster recovery attainable because, as Kleyman wrote, virtual machines are “much easier to recover” than physical ones.

In addition, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service models tend to have built-in recovery capabilities that are far more effective than on-premise solutions. As a result, these environments allow organizations to recover data faster, while making that information available “on-demand.” 

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