By Darrell Riddle
Disasters can strike at any time and in any place. Although there are some warnings for storms or other weather events, the majority of IT issues come from human error or malicious acts. You don’t get much warning for those events. A simple act, such as a poorly trained cleaning crew using the wrong plug can bring data centers to their knees and cause alarms to ring after hours. As anyone in the channel and service provider market knows, those 2 a.m. customer calls can put a strain on your business and relations with them. Some may think that you can instantly reload that data from a tape or disk; in reality, the process is much more complicated as you may very well know. The complete IT service needs to be brought back online, not just the data. CIOs and IT managers must be educated about looking at data protection and disaster recovery (DR) planning from the viewpoint of protecting the entire IT service. Many of them are trusting in their channel partner to show them the way. By educating customers, channel partners add value and assist companies in ensuring a resilient datacenter that eliminates or minimizes unplanned downtime that can occur inside companies.
Channel partners can help set expectations for their customers by showing how DR plans must encompass the entire data center infrastructure and keep critical services online. It could be compared to an insurance plan. Companies carry insurance plans to prevent against physical damage. Why not implement an insurance plan to protect the most valuable asset — data and IT services? Using specific information related to a customer’s industry, channel partners can demonstrate how much money is lost per hour during an IT outage. On average, most companies state that they can only afford downtime of four hours or less at any one time. Even if a customer believes they can withstand downtime, the reality is there are lots of losses that can be associated to this downtime. The following graph from the IDG Research Services Report, “Quick Poll: Disaster Recovery Trends and Metrics," clearly demonstrates the impact downtime has on a company.