Saving the Store: Disaster Recovery Tools

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Can your business cope in a disaster? Everyone knows that business suffered following the 9/11 attacks and after the blackouts last year, but there are many other things that can go wrong and upset the flow of your business. Natural disasters like floods or hurricanes, fires and tornadoes, as well as theft, security breaches, technology failures and more can have a catastrophic effect on your business. Small businesses are particularly at risk, since they often don’t have a plan in place to handle these situations. According to some statistics, more than 90 percent of companies that don’t have a recovery plan go out of business within five years of a disaster.

The best tool in your arsenal for recovering after a disaster of any kind is to have a plan. Be prepared. You can find a plethora of articles and resources online to help you design your plan. You can also turn to services from companies like IBM and Sun Microsystems to help you prepare for potential emergencies and recover quickly afterward.

IBM offers Protection Express, a comprehensive business recovery solution that is designed for small and medium businesses. IBM will ship an iSeries, AS/400, pSeries or RS/6000 to a designated location, and you can use the system for up to six weeks. In addition, IBM will help you develop and document your business recovery plan, including a two-day workshop to help you personalize a plan for your own business.

Sun Microsystems and SunGard Availability Services provide Sun Disaster Recovery Managed Services designed for small and medium-sized businesses. This service helps small businesses build, implement and manage a simple and cost-effective disaster recovery solution, including system recovery, end-user recovery, mobile recovery, disaster recovery planning and recovery preparation.

One of the leaders in this space, HP provides numerous service offerings, as well as hardware and software, to help you back up your information and keep your business running in the event of a disaster—remote access solutions, solutions to proactively prevent problems, solutions to protect your business site’s power supply and much, much more.

There are so many vendor offerings of hardware and software to help manage business recovery, it’s not possible to list them all here. However, there are a couple of standouts. Symantec’s LiveState Recovery Advanced Server is a disk-based backup solution designed for various-sized organizations. The software essentially creates system snapshots that can be stored on virtually any disk storage device (SAN, NAS, RAID array). You can perform a full system restoration and restore individual files and folders quickly. Systems can be restored to a specific point in time without rebuilding from tape backup. One caveat: This option is not cheap. The “value program” for small to mid-size companies costs less than $10,000 for 10 licenses.

If you’re running Microsoft Small Business Server 2003, you already have backup and restore capabilities. The solution prompts the network administrator to create a backup strategy and then leads him or her through the process. Data can be backed up to tape, another hard drive or a shared folder on any network computer.

If that’s not good enough for you, VERITAS offers Backup Exec 9.1 for Windows Small Business Server. It comes in a standard edition and a premium edition. BrightStor ARCserve Backup for Microsoft Small Business Server from Computer Associates is another option. It protects critical application data for Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, any files that were open at the time of the backup and more. Remote disk backup support is available, and the product includes complete, built-in virus protection.

NovaStor offers numerous solutions, including desktop and single-server backup solutions for small business applications, an Internet-based backup service, remote management and accessibility, and tape and disk backup software designed for Windows, NetWare and Linux networks.

If all you’re looking for is tape storage, Quantum’s DLT VS80 provides a small-business solution. It’s scalable and works with most popular backup software packages. It is available as an internally configured unit or as a self-standing enclosed unit.

Larger businesses often have the benefit of providing two data centers to ensure constant availability of the network, regardless of disaster. This is not an option open to smaller businesses, which generally have only one location. However, many vendors offer remote backup and restore capabilities. Check out Agility Recovery Solutions (which also offers on-site business recovery and continuity solutions, see, and for just a few examples.

All of these solutions can help, but the most important tool in your arsenal is a proper plan, along with the training you need to cope with disaster.

Emily Hollis is managing editor for Certification Magazine. She can be reached at


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