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Disaster Recovery Testing Is Becoming a Dying Art

by on June 15, 2010

Many companies have disaster recovery systems in place. Relatively few, though, know if they’ll work when disaster strikes. Speaking at a video briefing sponsored by Accela Communications, Gartner Research Vice President David Russell maintained that disaster recovery testing is becoming a dying art. “For those organizations that are still embarking on a test, what we’ve seen is, actually, the ability to easily and successfully complete a test is very challenging.”

Work_of_art When Gartner surveyed organizations about their disaster recovery testing, he noted, only 35 percent of the respondents were able to successfully recover their data without problems. “Roughly two-third didn’t fall into that first category where all businesses would like to be,” he observed.

A close look at that remaining 65 percent uncovers some disturbing findings. Ten percent of the organizations don’t perform any disaster recovery testing at all. Another nine percent had significant problems but managed to recover some data. The remaining companies had problems but nothing they’d consider significant. “When you add up these various numbers–obviously only roughly a third of organizations easily and successfully being able to do a test on their DR plan–backup infrastructure is a serious problem,” he asserted.

“If we look at the current state of backup today,” he added, “I really believe we can characterize it as being  fundamentally broken.”

He explained that much has changed over the last few years. The infrastructure looks very different. A significant number of additional servers–either real or virtual–have been deployed. More physical storage has been added. The network structure, too, has increased dramatically. On top of that, more applications are being deployed.

“When you add all that up, the problem is that we’re still trying to back it up or protect it in the same fundamental manner,” he argued, “and that backup infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with the rest of the organization or the business.”

“When we look at the overall capabilities of a recovery infrastructure, we believe that the fundamental approach has to change,” he added.

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