What’s an Appropriate SLA for Recovery?
Whenever we get into a discussion around recovery SLAs (Service Level Agreements), it always starts with the customer saying the same thing. Terms like “immediately”, “ASAP”, and “yesterday” come up, to which we start the discussion of what’s truly attainable.
What’s attainable really revolves around what you want to invest in keeping a system running in the first place; if you truly can’t afford a system to go down, perhaps looking into redundant systems or virtualization should be on the table first. But, assuming you are more interested in just having as fast a recovery as possible instead, there are two factors to consider:
What’s being recovered – we need to define what needs to be recovered – data, servers, workstations, full OS recovery, etc. – in order to design a recovery service that can meet the need. If simply data, an SLA is determined by the speed of the backup solution (which we’ll get to in more depth in a moment). If complete servers down to the bare metal (meaning we’ll need to recover to a brand new piece of hardware) need to be recovered, it’s an entirely different timeframe. If workstations come into play (which they should – your employees can’t work without workstations!), the number of workstations and whether you want just a simple image to be used to recover, or backups of each individual workstation all come into play.
What solution is used – This is almost more important, because you can desire to have everything recovered and yet, the tape- based backup system in your business (as the case may be) only has the capacity to backup the data on your server.
This is one of the reasons we prefer to use hybrid cloud backup as our medium of choice. If you’re not familiar with it, backup is accomplished by backing up to a secure data center across the Internet (“in the cloud”) and that data is replicated to network attached storage (NAS) placed on-premise in your business. The local NAS provides robust speed of backups and recovery, while the cloud provides automatic redundancy for your backup data with an ability to recover – even if you need to recover to an alternate site.
So obtaining the answer for an appropriate recovery SLA isn’t a simple exercise. It’s going to require understanding what your business needs are and a willingness to possibly move to a more scalable, robust backup & recovery solution.