Support always-on demands with software-defined resiliency and DRaaS
Modern organizations face several challenges as they try to keep business running in a digital environment. Customers and business partners expect services to be always-on; but as tolerance for downtime shrinks, threats to business continuity operations grows. Natural disasters and manual errors become increasingly serious risks in a complex IT environment. Plus, enterprises must also cope with a rapidly expanding cyberthreat landscape, as external criminals and insider attacks pose new risks.
Another development is compounding these challenges: The IT environment is becoming more complex. The introduction of cloud computing has led to a multi-cloud hybrid environment that often spans not just multiple locations but also multiple service providers alongside on-premises operations.
Traditional business continuity techniques no longer meet these fast-evolving needs. A new approach must goes beyond yesterday’s data replication and backup solutions. There’s no more room for the time-consuming management of multiple operation systems, applications and storage solutions or the long recovery times of manual business services and applications recovery.
Software-defined resiliency (SDR) is IBM’s approach to DRaaS. It helps ensure enterprise applications operate reliably and protect data even when disaster strikes. It’s the latest step in the journey to redefine data center operations in software.
A software-defined approach makes disaster recovery more controllable and visible, enabling administrators to extend across hybrid cloud infrastructures. It also introduces perhaps the most valuable feature in an otherwise laborious process: orchestrated recovery. By automating and orchestrating the replication and recovery of not just the servers and virtual machines but also the applications and business services, disaster recovery becomes reliable and repeatable.
SDR makes use of existing vendors’ data protection mechanisms like replication and backup, but also manages them. Instead of using different tools for each enterprise software product, it provides a single interface to control all replication and recovery processes.
Software-defined business continuity also gives companies more flexibility in their data protection measures. As their business and regulatory conditions change, so might their data protection policies but SDR can adapt to cope.
Because it supports all of the enterprise data protection mechanisms and platforms, SDR enables companies to shorten their recovery time objectives. In the past, IT teams would have to work manually to restore each server platform and application’s data by following the technology-specific recovery procedures. Instead of having to search through multiple applications and command line interfaces, administrators can visualize and orchestrate these processes as workflows in a single dashboard. They get a clearer picture of real-time status of data protection and recovery across the entire enterprise. This heightened visibility also makes it far easier to produce reports for compliance purposes. If a company needs to show that it has met the DR SLA like RPO, then SDR can provide that proof.
This visibility also increases confidence in data resiliency. The complexity of testing disaster recovery processes in the past made it difficult to run them frequently. Companies might test their disaster recovery runbook on a yearly or half-yearly basis at best, and it would be a time-consuming process involving dozens and sometimes hundreds of people. By abstracting platform and vendor-specific operations and resources, SDR enables teams to automate the provision of cloud-based environments for backup and restoration. Automating those tests and generating top-down reports gives them peace of mind in the reliability of their disaster recovery solution.
Customers adopting an SDR approach can dramatically mitigate the financial effects of cybercrime. The Ponemon Institute says that effective business continuity management can cut the cost of a data breach by 16.2 percent on average. With data breaches growing 1.8 percent annually, that represents significant financial savings.
The IBM resiliency orchestration approach
IBM has over half a century of experience in business resilience and data protection. Its size, sophistication and scope enable it to provide a single SDR solution supporting a panoply of underlying backup and replication products.
Hundreds of customers across various geographical and vertical markets rely IBM’s on complete disaster life cycle management solution. It provides a single pane of glass to visualize and control backup, replication and restoration across the most complex multi-vendor hybrid cloud environments.
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Related topic: Disaster Recovery Plan