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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