In this Q&A session, Jeff Klaus, GM of DCM Solutions at Intel Corporation, shares his unique expertise on how businesses and data centers are planning for disaster recovery. This article originally appeared in Mission Critical Magazine and has been republished with consent of Jeff Klaus and the publisher.
Mission Critical (MC): How top of mind is disaster recovery for most businesses?
Jeff Klaus: Disaster recovery tends to get pushed down on the enterprise IT priority list as it’s inherently not seen as mission critical to complete day-to-day tasks. It’s a nice to have — until an outage hits. In 2016 the enterprise experienced a rise in several crippling IT-based disasters — from ransomware attacks to systems failures, viruses, and natural disasters — wreaking havoc on countless major organizations. As a result, for many data center managers, a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery model became a new standard within their top 2017 initiatives.
MC: As witnessed by several large outages in recent years, including Delta, how is it possible that companies with healthy IT budget and mission-critical data have no disaster recovery plan in place?
Jeff: The bottom line is that the majority of businesses don’t like to proactively/preemptively pay for services that hinge on a “what if” and too often wait until something severe hits the fan in order to get their act together. What’s overlooked however, is that businesses are still going to have to pay — whether it’s paying to implement a disaster recovery solution/plan upfront before a potential outage strikes or wait until it really hurts where there is considerable brand and financial damage on the line and pay for a solution in reaction to a disaster. That being said, in my experience, proactivity always pays off in the data center where business continuity is mandatory for the continued success of an enterprise.
MC: What are some initials steps businesses can take for implementing a disaster recovery plan?
Jeff: Identifying potential threats and utilizing a data center solution which allows for business continuity and shifting workloads during an outage. For example, deploying the right DCIM solution in your data center can provide a level of insight that would otherwise be unobtainable. If data center technicians can monitor infrastructure, processes, and tools in real time, unplanned system downtime for enterprises will be significantly decreased, which on average cost large enterprises hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour. Identifying the right solution for your data center can be extremely difficult. Considerations should be made regarding the specific advantages data center managers seek from DCIM tools, including the ideal level of integration with existing platforms, resources and time required to deploy, and the cost to maintain these tools.
MC: What are the most common disaster recovery pitfalls you hear/see with your day to day conversations with data center managers?
Jeff: The most common and obvious pitfall data center managers make is not having a disaster recovery plan in place, or not seeing the ROI in spending the time implementing a plan and solution upfront. In the same vein, not having a complete or adequate back up plan is another major pitfall. Too often I talk with data center managers who rely on inadequate technology, including outdated equipment or techniques. Another issue that comes up often is that data center managers aren’t regularly testing and monitoring the health of their data center environment, leaving them scrambling when a disaster strikes. Organized training and testing of disaster recovery plans is invaluable and will make IT more confident in their skills to mitigate downtime when a crisis hits.