Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tape back-up can make for slow restore

My new favorite site Hack in The Box links to a story in Computer World (Australia) about the law firm Holland & Knight in Florida that had some tape issues after Hurricane Wilma.
Ralph Barber, CIO at law firm Holland & Knight in Florida, said Hurricane Wilma this week knocked out several branch offices of his law firm, which often deals with electronic discovery cases in conjunction with regulatory requirements or litigation. Holland & Knight has about 450 servers and two storage-area networks that support about 3,000 users.

Barber replicates data between his two data centers -- one in Tampa, the other in Denver -- for disaster recovery. But the digital tape he also uses to transport information between offices did not help restore systems quickly enough after Wilma hit the state on Monday.

"Our challenges have been putting together a suite of services that will allow for disaster recovery and business continuity," he said. "This morning [Wednesday], the Miami office and the West Palm Beach office [are] down. Fort Lauderdale just came back up about 10 minutes ago."

Barber said that better real-time, online data replication tools would help him set up emergency facilities during a disaster.

Tape is cheap, reliable, and secure, but most tape restores can take many hours or days. If you need to be up and running in less than a day, an off-site disaster recovery site might be a better option. An off-site disaster recovery is very expensive, and probably beyond the means of most firms.


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