How many data centers are sufficient for disaster recovery?

Posted 10.24.08 by

Business Impact and Response Times are Key Factors in How You Plan for Disaster Recovery

How many data centers are needed to ensure proper disaster recovery? Today’s economy is exerting pressure on IT data center operations in two directions: For those with many data centers the pressure is to consolidate for increased efficiency and lower costs. For those with just one, or maybe two data centers, attention has been focused on ensuring disaster preparedness, especially in light of the damage caused by natural and human made disasters over the past decade

The answer to the “how many” question is never simple. And yes, I am going to say it: “It depends.” So what does it depend on? The number of data centers that you need for disaster recovery depends on two principal decisions that you must make.

The first decision applies to all IT organizations and is dependent upon the whole business completing a business impact analysis (BIA). The BIA will dictate the recovery time and point objectives that must be met for the business to survive a disaster. A commonly made mistake is that business units within the organization seek aggressive recovery objectives to avoid inconvenience to their daily job routines in the event of a disaster. The goal is not to avoid discomfort, but to ensure survival of the organization.

The second decision applies to those IT organizations that are predominantly e-commerce in nature, where they must ensure their Web services are available to all of their customer locales. The response time for clients drives the need and placement of data centers around the globe. While not all IT organizations have this requirement, I have talked to a few that have requirements similar to Google in supplying content quickly to all their customers around the world.


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