Looking at the Technology Behind Business Continuity

Part 2 of ‘Are You Prepared for a Disaster?”


By Chad Lew, Systems Architect, NetApp IT


IT faces many challenges in protecting and maintaining critical business operations in the event of disaster. In part one of this two-part blog, Ken Socko reviewed the process NetApp uses for business continuity and disaster recovery planning. In today’s blog (part two), I will explore how NetApp uses its own technology to support this process.

Our business continuity framework uses a service-based approach. A group of applications compose a service and a service directly supports a business capability. Our goal is to have all the applications needed for a business capability up and running at the same time and at the appropriate level. In the first blog, we reviewed the six-step process we use to manage the business risk. At the end of the process, both IT and its business users understand what risks they face in the event of a crisis and the investments required to mitigate them.


Business continuity and disaster recovery planning involve equal parts of process and technology. You can’t have one without the other. We leverage NetApp technology across the entire process to protect our data. NetApp’s Snapshot™ technology is used to take consistent point-in-time backup every four hours across all our production systems. Unlike traditional disk-to-disk backups, NetApp Snapshot™ does not require 2x additional disk space for each backup. NetApp Snapshot only stores the changed data blocks between the oldest Snapshot and current data. Since the backups are pointer-based, it does not require physically moving data blocks. Backups and restores only take seconds regardless of data size and do not impact performance on our production systems.


We also leverage NetApp SnapMirror® technology to replicate our data from our production data centers to our disaster recovery data centers. We replicate our Snapshot data on various schedules based on our recovery-point and recovery-time objectives. Because SnapMirror only replicates changed data blocks, only a small amount of data is moved across the network so it is extremely efficient. In addition, we leverage NetApp SnapVault® technology for long-term retention, archive, and compliance.


                                           NetApp uses its SnapShot, SnapVault, and SnapMirror technology to perform automated data backups.

The integration of our business continuity framework and technology create a seamless relationship that enables fast disaster recovery. This integration is especially important in a service-based environment where application ecosystems support a service which in turn supports a business capability. Like a symphony, each application must be able to play its part at the right time to bring back the business services and orchestrate a complete recovery.    

Does technology support your business continuity process? Does NetApp technology play a part in this process? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.


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The NetApp-on-NetApp blog series features advice from subject matter experts from NetApp IT who share their real-world experiences using NetApp’s industry-leading storage solutions to support business goals. Want to view learn more about the program? Visit www.NetAppIT.com.