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Business continuity overview - challenges and the need

Business Continuity is a comprehensive managed effort to prioritize key business processes, identify significant threats to normal operation, and plan mitigation strategies to ensure effective and efficient ongoing and uninterrupted organizational response to the challenges that surface during and after a crisis. It enables the organization to its continued viability.

A commercially feasible business continuity strategy represents a fine balance between the cost of implementing the business continuity plan and the impact and likelihood of the potential outage. The more cost effective methods allow IT professionals to put in place continuity plans with wider application coverage, allowing near uninterrupted operations.

What are the challenges faced in implementing Business Continuity?

Business Continuity, literally going by the name seems a lot simpler than the actual implementation. Whether it's managing an unscheduled machine breakdown or dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster, business continuity planning is critical to the ongoing success of your business-and at the core of any business continuity plan is your infrastructure. It's the technology foundation that helps you reduce business risk and keeps your business running. However, challenges have sometimes made it difficult to fully realize the business benefits of your business continuity plan.

For example:

- Traditional business continuity solutions that replicate a production environment at a failover site require an equal number of servers at the disaster recovery site. These servers sit idle when they are not being used for failover, and it is this combination of massive replication of a physical infrastructure and the inefficient way that the servers at the failover site are used that introduces a great deal of unnecessary cost
- Failover may often be a manual activity because your administrators have to verify that equipment and applications at the remote site are recovered in the right order which can be labor and time intensive
- Implementing a disaster tolerant solution often requires that primary and secondary sites have compatible equipment, since your operating systems and applications demand it, but this adds complexity
- Each application typically has a different recovery processes and these differences mean you have to test and validate each process to verify that operations at your remote site meet your recovery time objectives. Complex solutions are hard to test as the difficulty level in provisioning sufficient equipment to re-create all cases that you wish to test are unpredictable of the way in which the threat might affect the infrastructure.
- Traditional disaster recovery solutions have relied almost exclusively on tape backup systems. However, unless these systems are rigorously designed and regularly tested, you may not be able to recover critical application data quickly

Today, the advent of virtualization technologies such as DSI's Virtual Infrastructure (VI) solution has created alternatives to traditional business continuity solutions. When used in conjunction with adequate servers and storage, you benefit from a wider range of cost effective business continuity solutions that can meet the unique demands of your business starting with afford able low-cost backup or virtual machine replication, through to advanced highly available multi-site solutions that facilitate ongoing operations in the event of a disaster.

The need of the day is having an uninterrupted operation of IT for success of any business organization. Poor business continuity is a significant issue for any business because smooth flowing IT operation is a critical requirement. An intensely competitive environment means that businesses are less tolerant of service lapses that affect productivity.
Every coin has two sides and so does your business continuity. A look at the harsh factual statistics compels you to ponder over:

- Almost 60% of surveyed companies incurred significant financial damage as a result of systems failure in the past year
- 93% of companies lost their datacenter for ten days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster
- Fear of lagging behind in times of fierce competition who have adopted virtualization adds to vulnerability
- Forcefully abiding the Government laws and regulations to provide higher levels of availability for their applications, infrastructure and data is taxing. E.g. Sarbanes Oxley rules the behavior of most of the public companies that compulsorily have to abide by the rules and regulation.

How does Virtualization help business continuity?

Virtual Infrastructure makes business continuity commercially feasible for mid-size enterprises and provides coverage beyond the top 5% of the most critical IT applications. We are concerned more with virtualization and business continuity as it relates to the IT infrastructure.

Virtual infrastructure provides a layer of abstraction between the computing, storage, and networking hardware, and the software that runs on it. Virtual infrastructure simplifies IT computing architecture, so companies can leverage their storage, network, and computing resources to control costs and respond faster. With virtual infrastructure, applications and services can be provisioned to any x86 systems and easily moved between servers when conditions change. It also assists in eliminating downtime. Downtime often takes place through planned activities like hardware maintenance, and unplanned events like server failure, storage failure or a site disaster. Thus care is taken while minimizing or preventing downtime that the supporting technologies do not introduce complications in the recovery process like data loss or corruption. DSI virtual infrastructure solution delivers a dynamic mapping of IT resources to the business. The virtual infrastructure solution is also far more flexible and easily managed than conventional physical servers, allowing administrators to manage and optimize services globally across the enterprise, truly a feather in the cap for business continuity for any organization.

Using virtualization for disaster recovery allows companies to extend the disaster coverage to more applications while reducing the recovery time and making the process more reliable. To learn more about business continuity solutions with virtual infrastructure and to get help in implementing business continuity solutions in your environment, call DSI toll free 1-877-DSINFO7 Today for a free no obligation "virtualization solutions evaluation" ABSOLUTELY FREE. We will help you and your company to operate your IT operations better, smarter, and faster and protect your IT infrastructure to ensure business continuity.