We humans are funny beings, especially our horrible sense of risk. We worry about large scale disasters like plane crashes and meteor strikes, but disregard the fact that our car is far more dangerous to our existence. Our risk blindness extends to our businesses and IT operations. We fret about a massive hurricane, flood, or terrorist attack that immobilizes our city but overlook the water pipe running through the server room that potentially can cause far greater damage.
Why? Any local disaster like a water pipe bursting in the server room and destroying your servers is far worse for your firm because while you are immobilized, the rest of the world isn’t. Clients can be understanding, to a point, but will suffer only a brief delay before finding someone else who can meet their needs in a timely manner. Therefore, having a Disaster Recovery solution like SAGE IT Continuity Services (IT CS) that can handle these personal disasters and get you back up and running is absolutely vital.
We Really Should Have Kept our Eye on the AC system
We humans, funny beings that we are, tend to overlook things as well. So while overseeing the renovation of the office and the concurrent technology refresh, the IT director totally forgot to schedule the annual maintenance on the air conditioning unit in the server room. Oops. So when the compressor failed over the weekend and the temperature warning went to the Blackberry with a dead battery, the issue wasn’t discovered until the managing partner complained that she hadn’t had e-mail in a few hours. When the administrator peeked into the server room, she was blasted with a hot wind straight out of the Sahara.
The first victim of this heat wave was the Exchange Server, so mail stopped being delivered sometime early Monday morning. The next to fall was the file/print server just before 7 am. So about an hour before the working day begins, the firm is without e-mail and their working documents.
There is one bit of luck in this mess: the domain controller, Blackberry server, and SAGE Continuity Server (SCS) survived the sweltering heat and are still running, especially the SCS server. It had backed up the documents to the off-site data storage facility via the Internet 8 minutes before the file/print server went down and completed the Exchange server backup 2 minutes before it kicked. To save it and other servers from the same fate, the administrator and IT director commandeered fans from throughout the office and rushed them to the server room.
Getting Running Again
So how does the SCS help get a firm out of this mess? The SCS backs your servers up in a way that allows those servers to be booted and run on the SCS. Depending on the SCS model deployed, it can run 3 to 16 of your servers as virtual machines while you recover from your disaster.
The SCS is a physical unit that, under normal operating conditions, insures you have good backup of your servers and data. But when disaster affects one or more of your physical servers, the SCS becomes a virtual host and runs those servers you need until new hardware arrives.
More good news – if you must acquire replacements for your servers rather than repairing them, SCS can restore your server(s) to the new hardware without long installation processes. In IT lingo, this is called a “bare metal restore.” Without this capability, the replacement computer must be configured, its operating system must be installed and tested, and data must be restored before it can be used. In SAGE’s experience, finding and shipping replacement equipment takes about 2 weeks; then there is a week to get it running with the operating system; and usually a long night to get the data restored and ready for use.
With SAGE CS, the server(s) can be brought up on the SCS while replacement hardware is shipped. As soon as the hardware is available, SCS can restore the server and data. Downtime? An hour or two on the day of the failure; the time it takes to run a full restore when the new computer arrives (typically overnight). That compares quite favorably with 2 weeks to a month without SAGE CS.
But It could have been so much worse...
What if the problem hadn’t been discovered for a few more hours, taking down the SCS and the rest of the server as well?
SAGE CS servers send a duplicate of the servers and storage they back up to a secure data center on the Internet. Should a SCS server fail, its duplicate can be shipped to you within 48 hours, and can then boot and run the servers it has backed up.
So even if the SAGE CS servers are affected by your disaster, they can be available again within 48 hours – much less time than buying, shipping and prepping replacement hardware. While those steps are taken, the SCS server is providing IT Continuity.
...and on those less exciting days.
Us humans, funny beings that we are, tend to be forgetful of the little disasters we deal with everyday. The scenario above describes a major disaster affecting the entire firm, but there are countless minor disaster that affect individuals and firms every day: a file gets deleted accidently, or e-mails, or folders, etc. SAGE CS can restore individual files, file folders, email messages and mailboxes translating what may have been a disaster into an inconvenience. SAGE CS applies not only to those rare extreme situations, but also to those frequent minor emergencies.
At what cost?
SAGE CS provides a high degree of resilience, redundancy, and recovery. SAGE CS exceeds the capabilities of most Internet backup services, and usually at a better price. You don’t have just a copy of the data, you have the ability to continue operations. Further, if replacement hardware is needed for your servers, SAGE CS can make immediate use of the new hardware without long and expensive installation processes.
If you are concerned about IT Continuity (often called Disaster Recovery), let us show you how affordable and effective SAGE CS can be.
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