The stories sound as if they’d been lifted from a comedy sketch. But the editors at Silicon.com
vouch that each of these remarkable cases actually occurred this year.
- One employee left a banana on top of his hard drive, which then rotted and seeped through into the device. The circuits were ruined, and the drive failed to work.
- Employees of a global telecommunications company dropped a laptop computer while working from a helicopter in Monaco.
- A university professor heard a squeaking noise emanating from the drive of his new desktop, so he opened the case and sprayed in some WD-40.
Such incidents may prompt a chuckle, but there’s a hard lesson here for IT departments: Never underestimate the risks to your organization’s systems. For organizations that rely on Microsoft Windows-based technology to support their business goals and daily operations, keeping increasingly complex Windows systems running is at the top of their agenda. This article looks at solutions that can help administrators manage and back up those systems -- and recover them in the event of failure.
Think about it: With the need to protect a growing number of mobile users, branch offices, and online transactions, managing the PCs and servers that make data access possible has become much more complicated. But that’s not all. There are also operating system and hardware upgrades, new security vulnerabilities, and the need to deliver software updates to users across the network.
Take system recovery as an example. Recovery can be a long, error-prone task that leaves mission-critical servers offline. For example, when a server operating system fails, it can take eight or more hours (days, in some instances) to rebuild and restore the server. This process includes reinstalling the OS, applications, patches, configuring settings, etc. Moreover, there are no guarantees that the server will be in the exact same state as before the failure took place. That’s why today’s organizations require a solution that enables administrators to perform bare-metal restorations in minutes — not hours or days.
There is also the matter of having to recover systems to the identical hardware platform where recovery points were created. Few organizations can afford the luxury of maintaining hardware replicas in case they need to replace an existing system. In reality, today’s enterprises are constantly negotiating on price with various vendors and may often change preferred vendor standards. This introduces the issue of restoring a system to a new and dissimilar piece of hardware, while trying to preserve the integrity of the system state and the availability of the data. Administrators today can significantly minimize downtime if they have the ability to recover entire systems to dissimilar hardware platforms or even to virtual environments. Dissimilar hardware restoration also saves significant hardware investments by eliminating the need to recover systems to the identical hardware platform.
Another IT management challenge has to do with remote support. Gartner reports that hardware and software purchases account for only about 20% of today’s IT budgets, with more than 70% being spent on service and support. Clearly, the need to support an increasing number of remote systems can impose a heavy toll on any organization’s IT staff.
Then there’s the inescapable fact that today’s dynamic business climate is changing all the rules when it comes to backup and recovery. Increasingly, IT administrators find it hard to create recovery points of a system within available backup windows.
A solution such as Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery provides a new approach to system recovery. The solution captures a system’s entire live state -- including all files, applications, operating systems, and settings -- in one file, without disrupting user productivity or application usage.
Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery also allows administrators to recover entire systems to dissimilar hardware platforms. (Recovery points can also be restored to virtual environments in VMWare.) Bare-metal restorations can be performed in minutes, and administrators no longer need to reinstall and reconfigure operating systems, applications, system settings, and preferences.
In addition, Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery eliminates the need for remote onsite IT support by allowing recovery of systems in a remote location or a locked environment. The solution enables a remote administrator to conduct bare-metal restorations simply by connecting via a secure remotely controlled interface.
Finally, Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery allows administrators to create real-time recovery points of the entire system to eliminate backup windows. Scheduled recovery points help ensure systems are enabled for quick recovery, while allowing administrators to focus their attention on other tasks.
Traditionally, enterprises have struggled to recover whenever their IT operations were disrupted. Thanks to advances in disk-based backup technology, enterprises can transcend the limitations of traditional backup and recovery practices. That’s welcome news, because better and faster backup and recovery are essential given all the dynamics that can affect IT today.
As enterprises increasingly expose their networks -- to customers, partners, and suppliers — they must be able to isolate a threat or outage and know precisely what steps to take to recover. When IT disaster does strike, enterprises need to quickly restore failed systems in minutes to a specified point-in-time without taking hours or days to manually rebuild and restore systems. Whether it’s a laptop dropped from a helicopter or a hard drive doused with oil, today’s IT departments need to be ready for anything.