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A Roadmap to High Availability

Created: 09 Oct 2012
dennis_wenk's picture
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Deciding what to do and where to invest to achieve higher levels of availability and more resilient recovery is a lot harder than it might first appear.  When it comes to HA/DR there is not a single variant to control, stuff comes in a number of gradations; gradations of risk, gradations of solutions, and gradations of cost.  Making rational choices about all these trade-offs is not simple. There are too many things that could cause a service interruption, there are a large number of solution choices, and there is a variety of price-points. 

Even though HA/DR is complex, it is extremely important for every organization to get it right.  Customers demand uninterrupted access to information and immediate availability of core business applications. Regulations demand operational resilience and high availability, placing tremendous pressure on organizations to ensure the availability of data and business processes 24x7, 365 days a year.  The challenge is that data is growing exponentially, IT-service requirements are intensifying, and the operating budgets remain flat.

Operational risk is becoming more diverse. While the pain of an outage or service interruption is very well understood, it is not so clear where to invest scarce resources, and more importantly, how much to invest to mitigate the risk.  With all the alternatives designed to protect organizations against loss of access to data and applications, choosing the correct solution that will increase business resilience, as well as, operational efficiency provides a significant advantage. 

As organizations grapple with a variety of important HA/DR issues they typically seek assistance answering questions, such as:

  • How much infrastructure protection do I need to minimize operational risk?
  • What is the payback for the technology investment required?
  • How can I justify the expense to our executives?
  • Are our current risk management plans adequate?
  • Do our internal controls satisfy government regulations?
  • Do we even have the expertise required to evaluate our plans rigorously?
  • Are we overlooking a higher-level impact, especially in the area of compliance?
  • How can we bypass political issues to make objective, business-based decisions?
  • How can we pull the team together to move forward?

Answering these questions and objectively evaluating where to invest to increase resiliency requires expertise that few organizations have in-house.  Additionally, they may also lack a methodology for systematic analysis or let emotional factors interfere with what should be rational business decisions. Even worse, although most organizations understand the immediate impact of a disaster, they may overlook more likely-to-occur events that can have a far more severe impact. Symantec’s HA/DR Workshop helps customers through these thorny HA/DR issues.