Archive for August, 2011

SunGard Meets Las Vegas: Put Your Photography Skills to Work!!

Now that we have names for our mascots, Olivia Octopus and Alex Alligator,  we need tour guides to show them around Las Vegas! Take photos with Olivia and/or Alex around Sin City and post them to our Facebook Wall for a chance to win a MacBook Air® or… iPad® 2!  See video for details!

Visit SunGard Availability Services Facebook page for official terms and conditions.

Gartner Cites High Cost of Disaster Recovery Testing as a Critical Obstacle

At June’s Infrastructure Summit, Gartner’s John Morency went on the record about the high cost of recovery testing.  He remarked that most organizations with whom John speaks report averaging $30-40K per test. Some even estimated spending as much as $100K on a single disaster recovery test exercise.

That’s an enormous expense under any circumstance. With that type of cost, it’s no wonder than more organizations report putting off recovery test walk-throughs, and incomplete testing at “best effort” levels.

Also, when recovery testing is best perceived as being “insurance” against a “smoking hole” style of disaster, then increasing the effort and resources put against it seems hard to justify.

The key to unlocking better recovery test practices requires a combination of things. First, organizations need to redefine the purpose of recovery testing – to include finding technology gaps and opportunities for process improvement in their production environment. Second, organizations can also benefit from a closer working relationship with their cloud recovery service provider. Demanding that the provider step up to assume responsibility for recovery – backed by contractual guarantees – is one way to make sure that recovery testing is a manageable burden assumed by the provider, at a predictable and manageable expense.

In fact, in most cases, taking this approach can substantially reduce an organization’s recovery testing costs. Elimination of staff travel and expenses to the recovery site, and time out of office, is one obvious savings. Additionally, however, reducing the guesswork – and relying on recovery experts – can not only reduce costs but speed test and increase the value of testing.

How can recovery tests benefit organizations in their production environment? These are some of the benefits which SunGard Recovery Services customers report experiencing first hand:

  • Finding previously unknown patches to apply in production environments as well as at the recovery site – improves applications performance and operations
  • Improving change management processes at the production site – asset and license management, change control, and related process improvement can improve customer service and improve IT budget control
  • Using runbooks created for recovery for smaller-scale recovery to overcome local outages – improves application availability
  • Redesigning protection strategies and technology implementations to better support recovery objectives – can streamline and lower the complexity and cost of protection systems

For more on how SunGard can assist your disaster recovery test efforts – and make them more valuable to your business – read about our latest Managed Recovery Program service.

 

For Recovery, Cloud Platforms Lower Cost and Improve Scalability

Cloud has received much industry attention in the last year. Some believe that cloud is a marketing fad. But others recognize that virtualization technologies when implemented as a cloud make fundamental changes in how applications can be designed, managed, maintained – and, most interestingly in terms of the Recovery Services line of business at SunGard, cloud also changes how applications can be recovered.

It is a truism by now, that cloud “is just another platform.” However, the differences in the platform are fundamental – with huge implications for the applications which run on them. ITIL best practices are also at work, changing the process by which applications are developed, tested, and provisioned in most organizations. The result seems to be more modular applications designed with “share-everything” resource utilization, to lower costs and improve efficiencies.

Even for traditional applications, however, cloud offers some exciting new recovery options. New recovery options include:

  • Shared tenancy with other organizations, to spread the cost of resources across more budgets – and lower the recovery platform costs for all
  • Receive faster, automated response to real-time fluctuations in capacity demand – across networks, compute and storage resources
  • Recover applications faster due to automation capabilities built into the cloud platform – capabilities which avoid human error and other delays
  • Transform traditional Capex into Opex monthly fees which are structured to be “pay-as-you-go” – which further reduces the pressure on IT budgets

These exciting new opportunities to ease recovery costs are helping more organizations to put effective disaster recovery in place for their businesses, by lowering the costs and increasing the benefits. Additionally, organizations are able to more of their applications under sufficient recovery protection, by lowering the costs of recovery across every type of application.

However, cloud platform does not solve everything for recovery. Some of the key challenges which are unchanged by cloud include:

  • The need for organizations to adopt modern data movement, to improve recovery points and recovery times and eliminate costs and risks associated with tape-dependent disaster recovery
  • The need for organizations to analyze applications value and the impact of downtime to their businesses – so they can appropriately prioritize recovery spending and resources
  • The need for applications expertise built into recovery plans and procedures
  • The need for organizations to maintain and test their recovery plans and procedures, on a regular basis

What’s in a name? Could be an iPod Touch!

If you have been following us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that we have been searching for names for our alligator and octopus mascots.

Although we are no longer accepting submissions,  we will still need your help. Beginning Monday, August 15 through Friday, August 19, we will allow our Facebook fans to vote on the four finalists for alligator names and the four finalists for octopus names.

The participants whose name is chosen will win one of two Apple 32GB iPod Touch media players. Winners will be notified by email, and then announced on Facebook by August 22. Click here for Terms and Conditions.

So…what are you still doing here?! Visit us on Facebook!

Scalability Requires People and Services, Not Just Technology

Scalability is one of the most attractive features of the cloud.  It lets you meet demand-based business requirements, whether those demands are the results of ads, business growth, seasonal activity or economic cycles.

However, scalability is more than just provisioning more technology and/or increasing a data center footprint.  Scaling horizontally to add hardware is the easy part.  Data centers have been doing it for years, first as managed service offerings and now as enterprise caliber cloud offerings. 

However, the ability to scale vertically is one of the most attractive features of an Enterprise Cloud.  As your business grows, it also becomes more complex, and an Enterprise Cloud offers not just the infrastructure but also the service offerings you need, such as advanced data management services, enhanced security services and multi-site integration to support the complexity of your business.

Storage Tiering Services

As your data grows to multiple terabytes, you need storage tiering to deliver the right scaling costs at the right performance levels.  Tiered storage, where different classes of storage are defined and  available depending on the storage tier/data requirement, allows for the matching of performance and costs to the specific data-set and application(s). 

Enhanced Security Services

Similarly, as your technology footprint grows, you need additional security services beyond the standard firewall, VPN and related security access.  Examples include host-based intrusion prevention, log management/analytics and, in many cases, security information event management (SIEM).  Additional monitoring/reporting tools that report on capacity, performance and health are needed to make informed decisions across the application(s) architecture. 

Multi-site Integration

In addition, since everything is not likely to be in the cloud, you need the ability to inter-connect your Cloud environment to collocated or other managed environments as well as SaaS or self-hosted application infrastructure. This version of the hybrid cloud will continue to build in demand and necessity as more enterprises embrace the various delivery mechanisms, including SaaS, Managed Services, Cloud, Colocation, etc.  Finally, the Enterprise Cloud gives you access to the technical specialists and experts that can help you manage the new challenges.

When you think about scaling your business, recognize that three components—technology, services and people—are needed to scale it.  The Enterprise Cloud makes all those components available as you need them.

Will your data grow beyond your current data center practices  in 2012?

Learn more about SunGard’s Enterprise Cloud Services.