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POWER > Systems Management > High Availability

Data is Money

A recent survey explores the state of Power Systems resilience

A recent survey explores the state of Power Systems resilience
Illustration by Ken Edmondson

The idea that data is a key business asset is hardly disputable; even so, how to affix a direct financial value to it remains a matter of debate. Maintaining data availability is essential to overall business continuity, despite difficult economic environments. In light of this, a yearlong study on what companies are doing to keep data resilient and minimize downtime provides some insights.

The study, conducted by Vision Solutions, surveyed the state of resilience on Power Systems* solutions. This year’s results, collected between September 2008 and October 2009, include data from nearly 4,000 technical professionals and executives managing IBM i and AIX* environments in more than 100 countries. The survey’s scope and depth included which technologies and methods are being applied and how fully and effectively they’re implemented. To ensure validity, the results in the report include only those questions where several hundred responses were available for analysis.

Resilience Under Pressure

Business leaders understand intuitively the value of their data and know they must daily address the practical, tangible issues of protecting it from loss or corruption and putting it to work effectively, efficiently and profitably.

But just how that intuitive understanding translates into pragmatic, front-line actions—in the data center and throughout the business—varies by company, in methods and in levels of commitment and success. Protecting the availability and even the existence of these business-sustaining digital assets is only one of many mission-critical objectives executives must address. The final measure of business leadership is the capability to identify and execute the right priorities with the optimum balance of resource allocation. Executives should consider these central issues:

  • A trend toward increasingly aggressive recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) is apparent across the platform. But evidence suggests that many firms lack the appropriate technologies to achieve these goals.
  • Data protection and high availability are related but still distinct objectives. Findings support increasing adoption of solutions to address both areas, but keeping data and applications continuously available hasn’t been addressed as fully or consistently as protecting against catastrophic data loss.
  • Traditionally, disaster-recovery (DR) capabilities have been viewed as insurance against major natural or human-caused disasters. But increasingly, businesses are realizing the harm of frequent mini disasters—power or network outages, maintenance and upgrade work, and even the corruption or loss of individual files. Technologies for recovering from and actively avoiding these events are maturing and gaining support.

Few dispute the old saying “time is money.” The maxim “data is money,” though not as deeply ingrained in common business practice, is gaining ground with business leaders in companies of all sizes and across all industries.

Consider some basic steps for your data-protection strategy:

  • Evaluate the costs associated with downtime of any duration from any cause.
  • Set measurable goals for systems and data recovery speed and completeness (RTOs and RPOs) based on business needs, not current technological or procedural capabilities. Then, identify and work toward implementing technologies and processes that support your objectives.
  • Where appropriate technologies are in place, ensure that the company’s ability to recover from downtime or data loss really meets stated recovery and availability objectives. Live testing of systems and procedures is vital, both to train personnel and to measure capabilities against present and future needs. Historically, companies have adopted IBM Power Systems solutions (and all of their predecessors) because of the reliability, flexibility and sheer power they provide. In reviewing how these same demanding, forward-thinking companies deal with data, application and business resilience, keep in mind the backdrop of the past year’s business environment. It’s truly an informative story of resilience under pressure.

Wm. Edward Vesely is the senior vice president of marketing and business development at Vision Solutions.



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