Containers Expo Blog Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Disaster Recovery Plans Be Prepared

Learning from recent events

It would seem only logical that after 9/11, one of the most horrific days in American history, corporations large and small would be ready for unforeseen catastrophic events. However, by one recent estimate, less than 38% have put a complete disaster recovery plan in place - the policies, processes, procedures, and architecture to deal with unforeseen events. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, IT managers are again forced to reassess how well prepared they and their organizations are to manage through and recover from natural or man-made disasters.

Understanding the strategic goals and requirements for surviving a catastrophic event is one thing, but actually having a set of guidelines in place for handling the tactical issues involved is quite another. Ultimately, the goal is to recover and restart business operations quickly and efficiently. But successfully arriving at that goal involves doing a hundred little things before, during, and after the event. This can present a challenge for IT organizations just trying to keep up with day-to-day operations, but when one thinks of what's at stake, it's imperative. Advance planning, preparation, awareness, and testing are the keys to the success or failure of a disaster recovery plan.

Planning for the Worst
CIOs and IT managers should ask themselves, "How do I deal with 21st century threats?" Imagine what you would do if you were in faced with a disaster. Would you be in good shape, or would you find yourself scurrying to implement a recovery plan? If the latter, now ask yourself: How long can my company's IT operations afford to be offline?

Preparing data and IT systems for potential disaster requires a combination of well-planned procedures and thoughtful policies. All companies should ask themselves this "What if..." question at every stage of their operation: "What if the power was down for over 10 days? Do I have a plan to deal with it?"

The problem today is that most software development organizations view disaster recovery at best as an after thought, although prevention is the key. The inability to resume everyday operations quickly and protect resources can be detrimental to a business and its community, and the companies most prepared for the unexpected are the ones that will reduce the risk of operational downtime, protect their valuable intellectual property and get back up on their feet quickly.

Approach Planning Incrementally
Organizations have to determine what it will take to protect them during a disaster and how long they can manage before full restoration is required. By asking the "What if..." question, organizations can be better prepared for an emergency by defining an initial plan and then refining it with more and more detail. It's best to create such a plan incrementally, starting out by asking the simple questions first, and then moving to more complex queries as appropriate for the business. Keep in mind that this project is an on-going one. As your business changes and new initiatives are defined, your plan has to change too. So reviewing your disaster recovery plan regularly should be a key part of the project.

When looking at disaster recovery from an application lifecycle management perspective, questions such as these should be addressed:

  1. From a Requirements Stage: What are the business, system, and data requirements needed in the event of a disaster?
    a.  Are these items isolated so they can be moved in an emergency?
  2. From a Design Stage: Is there adequate design for failure, is the architecture defined to enable recovery?
    a.  Where are the hardware, software, and other assets located and where will they be if something happens? What are the steps to restarting or continuing these assets?
  3. From a Development Stage: So the systems that are being built include concepts of failover, redundancy, and co-location?
    a.  Do the architects and developers understand the importance of disaster recovery as it relates to the systems being created, and has management participated in these requirements?
  4. From a Testing Stage: Could we implement a copy of our environment and test to ensure that it is stable and live in the event of an emergency?
    a.  Where are the assets going to be located in an emergency?
  5. From a Production Stage: Could we move all operations to another location seamlessly and immediately if we had to and is the location and infrastructure needed to do this available and ready?
    a.  What are the steps needed to move the company assets?
  6. From Configuration Management Stage: Is there adequate backup and redundancy built-into our large software investment?
    a.  Do you have a recent copy of your entire business off-site? And is it stored in a safe place?
Disaster Recovery Planning Checklist
Besides asking these questions, there are other measures IT executives can take to protect their people, information, infrastructure, and assets. The following are some steps companies can start to do today to ensure that their systems have the best chance of survival:
  • Create a disaster recovery plan. Once you have a plan in place, communicate it, rehearse it and keep it updated.
  • Review software and hardware contracts to ensure that proper licensing and contingencies are in place to help in the case of an emergency.
  • Enhance the company's software development methodology to include the guidelines needed for disaster recovery in every phase of the development process.
  • Test the plan to see if it will work. Contemplate the worst possible case scenarios. If your company already has a disaster plan in place, great. You're in far better shape than most. Once you've made a plan, test it. As we all know, plans look great on paper, but when it comes time to execute things don't always go as you expect.
  • Backup. Many of the plans for data recovery are way too limited. Here are a few questions companies can ask themselves to ensure their backup plans are extensive enough:
    I.  Do I have a current backup? Is there data missing from real-time to what was backed up, and does that matter?
    II.  Do I have an alternate location from which to conduct business? If you have a good backup, and the data is current, is there a place to run the software or actually failover to?
    III.  If the power outage is widespread and all businesses are down locally, will the company supplying the recovery location be overwhelmed? If so, what are our alternate plans?
    IV.  Does the disaster recovery location have the staff to actually run the business? If not, what is the plan to get competent people there?
Many of us today are thinking about our own disaster preparedness. What lessons can be learned from recent events? What can be done differently next time? Is it possible to be prepared for every contingency? Coming up with better plans for the future - and executing on them - may take some time. However, adapting existing technology to new and unforeseen circumstances is something that we can start doing today. The unpredictable nature of events that can cause IT disruption continues to be a threat and one that businesses can't afford to dismiss.


More Stories By Mike Rozlog

Mike Rozlog is with Embarcadero Technologies. In this role, he is focused on ensuring the family of Delphi developer products being created by Embarcadero meets the expectations of developers around the world. Much of his time is dedicated to discussing and explaining the technical and business aspects of Embarcadero’s products and services to analysts and other audiences worldwide. Mike was formerly with CodeGear, a developer tools group that was acquired by Embarcadero in 2008. Previously, he spent more than eight years working for Borland in a number of positions, including a primary role as Chief Technical Architect. A reputed author, Mike has been published numerous times. His latest collaboration is Mastering JBuilder from John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...