What your DR plan should protect


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DR plan is current and cost-effective
If your DR plan is based on a clear set of data classifications, service-level objectives, and appropriate levels of protection and replication for each class, you're among the fortunate few. Good job! However, there may still be room for improvement.

From a data management and storage perspective, you may be able to identify additional opportunities to improve service levels and reduce costs while continuing to meet the required RPO and RTO metrics. Companies often consider advanced data archiving solutions at this stage. By moving older data out of the current production data set, an organization can ensure proper preservation and protection of the archived data while improving application response times, reducing backup and recovery times, and lowering overall risks and costs.

For example, a production OLTP database may contain 1TB of accounting records and related data, spanning several years of history. If a database archiving product can move 500GB of inactive data (from closed periods, for example) to a static history file, the application can process queries and updates on the active data much more quickly. The database will recover faster from outages or disasters, and the enterprise can reduce its storage costs by placing the history file on less-expensive storage. Once the archive is backed up, it won't need additional backups until it changes--perhaps every 90 days when records from additional historical

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periods are added to the archive. Archiving applications for e-mail and other data types offer similar benefits in terms of reduced cost, improved performance, better protection and faster recovery time.

As a storage professional, you know about data--where it's stored, how it's protected and how it can be recovered. You can also take a broader view as part of a team that understands the business processes, records and applications, and how they can best be protected and recovered. If you want to be a leader and ensure successful DR planning in your environment, embrace the broader view and build a consensus on data classification processes and recovery metrics within the larger business team.

To decide what data you need to protect, begin by developing a good understanding of business requirements. Collaborate with colleagues who have complementary business, legal and technical expertise. Begin today and set realistic goals for a successful DR program or improvement project. Then keep the DR plan current as part of your ongoing process for building effective storage strategies.

This was first published in June 2006

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