Stephanie Balaouras

If you still subscribe to fixed site recovery services using shared IT infrastructure from the likes of HP, IBM BCRS, or SunGard, among others, you will quickly become a dinosaur in the next 1 to 2 years.

These types of shared infrastructure services involve lengthy restores from tape and a recovery time objective of 72 hours, at best. Plus, you’ll be lucky if you recover at all because chances are, you’ve had trouble scheduling a test with your service provider and it’s been a LONG time since the last one, if indeed you’ve ever tested.

72 hours recovery just doesn’t cut it anymore. And frankly, understanding your provider’s oversubscription ratio to shared infrastructure to determine the risk of multiple invocations, or attempting to negotiate exclusions zones and availability guarantees is a time suck. Most companies are either taking DR back in-house or, if they still rely on a DR service provider, they are using dedicated infrastructure.

A dedicated infrastructure is attractive as it enables replication to improve recovery objectives. But it’s expensive, and puts advanced IT recovery out of the reach of many companies who can’t measure downtime in millions of dollars.

But, there are new services on the horizon that will make advanced IT recovery affordable for the masses. This month SunGard announced the availability of its new Virtual Server Replication Service. As I discussed in my most recent Forrester Wave™ of DR Service Providers and other reports, server virtualization is transforming IT recovery. With replication to a virtualized server infrastructure and shared storage infrastructure, customers can enjoy improved recovery-time and recovery-point objectives without the cost of dedicated and custom IT recovery solutions from the DR services provider.SunGard is the first DR service provider to productize these virtual services. I expect other DR service providers to follow suit.

So, the next time your contract is up for renewal, you need to completely rethink your approach to IT recovery. Get off tape and move to these new virtual services. It will improve your recovery capabilities and you don’t have to worry about the oversubscription issue with shared virtual infrastructure — the DR provider can manage capacity much more easily in this environment. In fact, SunGard is offering an RTO SLA of 6 hours as part of the offering. To my knowledge, this is the first time a DR service provider is offering this as part of a standard contract. I’m looking forward to the day when vendors will offer most services with transparent, subscription-based pricing, and standard contract terms that don’t take a team of procurement professionals to negotiate.