‘Automation’ seems to be a hot topic currently – at the big industry events it crops up again and again. But how is it being used to help the world of business continuity? Automated backup is becoming the norm nowadays.
Automating the backup process means that even if the person responsible is away on holiday or gets sidetracked by more urgent activities, a backup will still be taken reliably every night. A key step in continuity is reliability, and automation can help reduce human error and forgetfulness in the backup process.
With backup being just a small part of business continuity and disaster recovery, how can automation be used to improve recovery success and reduce downtime? Assuming your backups are flawless thanks to automation, then surely the recovery process can utilise automation too.
Introduce Pre-recovery, which has been available since 2008. It’s the process of recovering your IT systems immediately following the backup or snapshot images being taken. Rather than hosting your backup data ready for a recovery should you need it, if the recovery is carried out in advance, recovery times can be minimised significantly.
This isn’t a popular method though as it’s expensive to do – recoveries are labour intensive and take a lot of engineering time to configure systems once they have been ‘recovered’ and booted successfully. Thankfully now, the whole recovery process has been automated, allowing Pre-recovery to be an affordable option for the SME market.
Once the initial recoveries have been carried out and errors ironed out, then the process is quite simple – any future errors are alerted to engineers who can identify potential weaknesses and changes that need manual intervention. Furthermore, automated testing can be done on a daily basis to guarantee your recovery will work.
Automating any part of the recovery process will reduce time and improve reliability. However, it’s important for there still to be a human element of monitoring. So, automation is now enabling more reliable backups to be taken, significantly reducing recovery times and allowing daily testing of full end to end recoveries. A much brighter landscape.