Disaster Stress Zones

draas.pngDo you ever ask yourself what is the relationship between data outages and human and business stress levels? What is the meaning of human and business stress? How does your backup product selection impact the human and business stress during a data outage? How can you control it?

To start the discussion, I wish to remind you that if you think about any backup product you will find out that there will be only one way to perform a backup, and that is to have an additional copy of your data. That’s it; it’s not complex, only one way to accomplish the backup task is to have another copy of the same data saved somewhere else.

In the recent months, I have been engaging with many customers that are reviewing their backup products and surprisingly their focus is always on the backup side of the disaster and not the recovery.

Disaster Stress Zones definition:

The below diagram illustrates the relationship between the Stress Level and the Outage. The stress level can be related to human and business stress. Human stress will focus on the stress of the IT department stuff, Backup admin or any person involved in the availability of the data centre; and the Business stress will focus on the how long the business can sustain an outage without loss of:

  • Revenue
  • Reputation
  • Customers Confidence
  • And more.

Also, in this diagram, you can find the comfort zone. This zone’s focus is where things are working flawlessly without any interruptions and most importantly, this where you are relaxed and focused.

Remember, that when you are deploying and configuring your backups, you are operating within the “Comfort Disaster Zone”, things are working as expected, sometimes minor issues arise but things are under control.

When a disaster strikes and an outage is spreading, you and the business will move from the “Comfort Zone”, and quickly move into the nightmare zone. Any disaster will demand your immediate attention. Your stress levels will be tested and sometimes to its limits (believe me when I say that your stress levels will be tested to the limit, unfortunately, I mean the absolute limit as I have been there several times). The longer the outage, the higher the stress levels. Stress levels are not only related to human stress but also include the business stress.

Note: An outage is not about the event, it’s all about the impact on the business.

Your aim and requirements from any backup solution should be reducing the stress level whether it is human and/or business stress. Either way, stress on either human or business stress will have an effect and impact on the other.

Managing the Disaster Zones:

When examining the above diagram we can conclude that the more prolonged the outage the higher the stress will be.

Any business or/and an IT department must always aim to “always” operate within the “Comfort Zone”. This zone is a normal day to day zone when things are working fine. Sometimes minor issues arise but it’s always controlled. This zone obviously will vary from person to person & business to business. The effect of the “Comfort Zone” will depend on the knowledge of the IT department staff and the specific workload outage and the dependency of the business on that specific workload.

Managing and controlling the disaster zones is tricky but yet simple at the same time. To control and manage the disaster zones, will start with answering the following two questions:

  • What are the most likely disasters I need to protect against?
  • What are the skill sets of the IT department?

Answering the above two questions will help you to start building your disaster recovery plan and align your IT department with the plan. Also, you will be able to close any knowledge gaps the IT department might have & therefore help you to better plan your recovery.

Once everything has been documented, you will be able to start looking for the best product which will help you execute the plan. It’s important to remember that the focus should be on the recovery side of the product capabilities as you should aim to control the stress level of the disaster zones. Products which offer a diversity of recovery options must be a primary focus for businesses. Some recovery options that will help reduce business and human stress levels are:

  • Instant recovery
  • Application Recovery
  • Item-level Recovery
  • Full Volume / LUN recovery
  • Stage Recovery
  • On & Off place Recovery
  • And more

Conclusion:

In this blog post, I have tried to highlight the importance of the backup product recover capabilities. During the product selection process many businesses are concentrating on the backup side of the backup products and not the recovery options a backup product is offering. The recovery options should be the focus of businesses. The blog post also showed the relation between the outage and the stress levels of the business during the disaster. Of course, any recovery must start with a backup but remember that there is only one way to do backup. Therefore, when choosing a product you must look for a product with recovery capabilities which will help you recover stress-free.

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