• Prevent Downtime.
• Prevent Data Loss.
• Protect against Viruses.



What is Disaster Recovery?

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In the information technology (IT) community, disaster recovery is the ability of a network to restart operations after a disaster.  A disaster is defined as anything that can compromise your information system and includes such events as a hardware (hard drive or server) failure, theft, fire, flood, hurricane, etc.  Good disaster recovery planning covers so much more than simply having data backups.  Click here to see flood damaged computer.



Can your company survive a computer systems disaster?  How important is your company's information system to the success of your business?  If your business is like most, your information system is critical. Without a properly functioning information system and the data it contains, how long can your business operate?  How much revenue would you lose for every hour and every day of downtime?


Disaster recovery planning is a complex, time consuming, and resource consuming process with little obvious benefit up front.  However, your company's very survival may depend on it.  Recently, hurricane Katrina struck our area with devastating consequences.  Many businesses computer systems were flooded and totally destroyed.  What do you suppose will be the fate of those businesses that failed to do even the minimum of disaster planning?


A comprehensive disaster recovery plan not only cover the basics such as backing up your critical data but includes contingency planning.  For example, the plan may layout how your company will move its information systems to another location in the event of a natural disaster.  We can help you develop and implement a disaster recovery plan that is tailored to your company's needs, from a comprehensive written disaster recovery plan, to providing the very minimum of precautions such as data backup.  Contact us today for a free consultation.



An integral part of any effective disaster recovery plan is to have a multi-pronged data protection approach.  That is, you do not rely solely on one protection measure but have multiple layers of protection.  We have developed a multi-pronged data protection strategy tailored for the small business needs as follows: fault-tolerant data storage, periodic drive imaging, regular system backups, and off-site storage.


Fault Tolerant Data Storage:
In networking terms, fault tolerance refers to the ability of a device or system to continue operating in the event of failure.  Fault tolerance is most often accomplished for data storage on servers by the implementation of a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) system.  With a fault-tolerant RAID, one hard drive can fail and the system keeps running.  We recommend that you implement a fault-tolerant RAID array on your server. Below is a brief description of two recommended RAID implementations.

  • RAID 5 is the preferred hard disk fault-tolerant strategy for most environments.  It requires a minimum of three equal-sized physical hard drives to implement but can contain up to 32.  RAID 5 spreads (or stripes) the data and parity information across all drives in the array in such a way that if any one drive fails, the missing data can be calculated from the remaining drives.  Increased read performance is realized with RAID 5.  With RAID 5, the total storage capacity is calculated by adding the capacity of the total number of drives in the array, minus one.  For example, a RAID 5 built with three 100GB drives would yield a 200GB total storage capacity.  ( 100 x 3 ) - 100 = 200

  • RAID 1 is a fault-tolerant hard disk configuration know as disk mirroring.  A RAID 1 solution requires two equal-sized physical disks where any data saved to the first disk is also automatically saved to the second disk as well.  If either disk fails, the data is still available on the other disk.  RAID 1 offers no performance increase and has a 50% disk space overhead.  Two 100GB disks configured in a RAID 1 yields only 100GB of storage space.  Perhaps the strongest advantage of RAID 1 is its lower cost.

Periodic Drive Imaging:

Drive imaging is the processes of preserving your entire hard drive exactly as it is—byte for byte onto backup media in a compressed format.  In essence, drive imaging saves a snapshot of your hard drive partition so you can restore the drive or partition to an identical state at a later date.  The image can be stored on tape or, preferably, on another hard drive.  The primary advantage of a drive image is the ability to restore the server to a running state relatively quickly without having to reload and reconfigure the operating system.  We recommend implementing a scheduled procedure where periodic images of your server are created.


Regular System Backup:

The term system backup as used here, is defined as the use of the Windows operating system backup functionality to create a file-by-file backup of your system and data.  We use a full backup where possible to allow for maximum flexibility in the restoring process.  Also, we typically schedule the full backup to run every night.  This backup should be written to some type of removable media.  In the past, this was typically tape.  But today, we recommend a removable hard drive as the destination of the backup.  Finally, one set of the removable media should be stored off-site.


Removable Hard Drive System for Off-Site Storage:

A key component of our off-site data protection strategy is to store all backups and disk images on a removable hard drive cartridge that is stored off-site.  In years past, tape devices were developed because hard drives were expensive.  Back then, tape was an inexpensive medium to store backup data when compared to the cost of hard drives.  However today the reverse is true.  Where a tape drive and controller can cost over $1000, an additional hard drive costs less than half that much.  Furthermore, the new SATA (Serial ATA) hard drive technology supports hot swapping.  By combining a hot swappable SATA hard drive and a removable rack system, you have a hot swappable solution where you can have multiple drive cartridges to facilitate keeping one cartridge off-site.


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