Standing Up to Mother Nature

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that we like to emphasize the small, “every day” disasters that are so common yet so easy to overlook, like the fried power supply or the accidentally deleted file. The ones where you don’t need to declare a disaster and failover to a remote site, but instead need a local replica of your data and workloads you can spin up in a couple of minutes.

But Mother Nature earns all her headlines for good reason. The big, capital-D, Disasters also matter. And there’s a lot of them out there.

A recent story I read pointed back to a map that the New York Times published last year, “Where to Live to Avoid a Natural Disaster”. It is not encouraging. Between hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, there aren’t a lot of businesses in the US that can take the chance of not having a DR solution to handle The Big One.

Five Things You need to Know to Get RaaS Right, Part III

In this third and final installment, we examine the various methods of data protection, and come back to our favorite topic, testing…

Methods of Data Protection

This brings us to the issue of choosing data protection technologies. If you have one of the rare, homogeneous environments, this can be a straightforward matter, as simple as using the replication technology available with your virtualization platform of choice, like VMware’s Site Replication Manager.

More typical data centers with physical and virtual servers, Windows and Linux, and so forth, will need a replication solution with broad OS and application support, like FalconStor’s data protection solution, with host agents for a wide variety of systems. Look for a solution that can do frequent snapshots, as this will determine the recovery point objective (RPO) that’s possible. Any solution can offer a 4-hour RPO, but 15-minutes is the new gold standard, so do your research.

Five Things You need to Know to Get Raas Right, Part II

Last time, we looked at the BIG difference between backup and Disaster Recovery. Today, we’ll discuss how to prioritize what to protect, and how to deal with heterogeneous environments…

Prioritize Servers and Applications

The same mentality that leads companies to use backup and forego DR also negatively affects the way they think about prioritizing their protection requirements. Thinking about recovery in terms of which files to protect is the wrong way to go; you end up lost in the weeds and not looking at things systematically.

Five Things You need to Know to Get Raas Right – Part I

A few weeks ago, we wrote about some of the more nuanced issues that businesses have to consider when evaluating Recovery-as-a-Service offerings. We expanded on that post by writing a new white paper on the topic,  Five Things You need to Know to Get Raas Right. You can download it here.

I’ll use a few of my upcoming posts to serialize the paper…

Five Things You need to Know to Get Raas Right – Part I

Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS) has emerged in the last three years as a viable and attractive alternative to traditional methods. Recovery-as-a-Service, also called “recovery in the cloud”, and “cloud based recovery”, takes advantage of the resource elasticity inherent in cloud computing to lower the cost of establishing and maintaining a target environment for business continuity and disaster recovery.

nScaled Partners with Equinix

If you haven’t seen it yet, we just announced a strategic partnership with Equinix, (Nasdaq: EQIX), a provider of global data center services. We’ve just added our fourth nScaled Remote Cloud Data Center in Equinix’s Ashburn, Virginia facility to help us manage our growth, and we’ve also decided to standardize on using Equinix co-lo’s from in the future.

As our CEO, Mark Hadfield put it,

“For nScaled to deliver enterprise-class cloud infrastructure to our risk-averse customers, it’s vital that we build our Remote Cloud data centers in the best available co-location facilities. In addition to providing world-class IBX facilities, Equinix also has the global reach we need as we expand our business worldwide.”

Disaster Recovery 201: An advanced course

There’s a very good piece by Esther Shein over at Computerworld today called “Disaster recovery 101: What you need to know”.

Shein does a great job of reviewing the pressing need that all businesses have for DR, and cites some scary statistics about the paltry uptake of DR among SMBs.

The most important part of her story covers the need for companies to have a DR plan. This is great advice, and comes before selecting a technology provider to help implement that plan. We couldn’t agree more.

Shein also repeats our mantra, “Test, test test.” It’s good advice, and bears repeating because DR testing is the kind of eat-your-spinach advice that is easy to ignore. But if you don’t test your DR plan, then you don’t have a DR plan.

Investment Advice: The High ROI of Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery plans and solutions are a form of insurance. Companies hope that they’ll never need them, but pay the “premium” because not to do so is to put their business at risk.

With any insurance policy, the subscriber tries to calculate what a fair premium to pay is. The calculation is based on the likelihood of making a claim, the size of a claim, and the premium payments. As long as the sum of all premium payments is less than the expected value of the policy (likelihood x amount), then the insurance is worth its price.

You’re dealing with imperfect information, of course, because you can’t predict the future, and don’t know what claims you might make. The best you can do is look to case studies for guidance. And maybe learn new ways to estimate insurance’s value to you.

So here’s a case study about the value of DR:

If the company had been shut down for those three days, they would have lost $900,000 in revenue.

New nScaled Customer: Hallett Retail Ltd.

We’re pleased that Hallett Retail Ltd. in London have signed up with nScaled. They help demonstrate that the issues driving the adoption of cloud solutions – growing amounts of data to manage, the need for greater agility – are a global phenomenon and not just an issue in the US. Here’s their story.

Hallett has been growing exponentially and in the last year has seen more than 50% year-on-year growth in their number of people and concessions. In just four years it has gone from zero to 14 servers. They had been using tape backup but backup windows were increasing due to the size of the data and the business was not comfortable with backup windows going beyond 12 hours.

nScaled took the time to thoroughly understand our environment. nScaled ensured that everything was fully tested before signing off. – Kevin Hallett, Chief Operating Officer, Hallett Retail

The Cost of Protection

Every day we encounter customers that have cobbled together their own disaster recovery (DR) solution, renting space in a secondary co-lo, buying equipment, setting up replication, etc. It’s a lot of work and money.

These companies would like to have someone else deal with all of it for them, but the big players in DR are way too expensive, and don’t really cater to mid-sized businesses anyway.

When we tell customers about our DR solution and what it costs, the response is frequently, “That sounds too good to be true.”

Well, we’ve pulled together some numbers to show that, really, nScaled DR costs 25-50% less than building your own solution. Contact us for more information.

Announcing The Latest Release of the nScaled Cloud Console

We’re pleased to announce the latest release of the nScaled Cloud Console, Iteration 26. This iteration focuses on giving nScaled’s partners more powerful tools for managing their customers’ nScaled accounts. It also features several enhancements to the UI.

If you’re already an nScaled customer, log in to your account to see what’s new.

Partner Portal

Lets nScaled’s Partners manage their customers’ accounts. Accounts can now be nested under one another. nScaled Partners have their own account, and their customers’ accounts are placed under them. nScaled retains visibility and control over all accounts. Customers should notice no change in appearance or functionality.

User Interface