Virtualise for seamless DR

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ITWeb Business Continuity 2012

At the inaugural ITWeb Business Continuity Conference, delegates will learn how to assess risk, prepare for likely eventualities, implement a business continuity plan and ensure timeous recovery. Key experts will discuss solutions to building continuity into every layer of your business. This will enable your organisation to weather any challenges it faces, and to have a competitive advantage as a result of a robust risk management capability. For more information and to reserve your seat, Click here.

Virtualisation is the logical option for seamless disaster recovery and business continuity, says Turrito MD Brian Timperley.

When the entire application layer is virtualised and available to any operating system and any device, disaster recovery and business continuity become a simple and seamless operation, he says.

Turrito's home-grown virtualisation solution has been in development for nearly 10 years, and was brought to market in January this year. Timperley says the response has been phenomenal as local enterprises see the advantages of a virtualised environment for seamless disaster recovery, in addition to operational benefits.

"We launched a virtualisation proof-of-concept for one of our clients, a multinational in the logistics and steel industry, recently, and happened to mention that virtualisation was also effective as a disaster recovery tool. A short while later, they experienced their first primary site outage in the history of the company. One of their engineers recalled what we'd said, quickly used it to load the necessary licences, and had the company operational within 40 minutes," he says.

This illustrates the effectiveness of virtualisation as a business continuity tool, he notes.

Timperley says while many companies still use physical environments and infrastructure for disaster recovery, possibly because they were installed before virtualisation became viable and they wish to "sweat their assets", he expects growing numbers of enterprises to move to a virtualised environment in future. "Every organisation will get to a point where at least part of their strategy will be to virtualise," he says.

"A virtualised environment is far more flexible. Once virtualised, it becomes far easier to scale your environment to multiple systems and locations, and it's easier to configure."

However, Timperley points out that, when virtualising the application layer, companies need to consider the multiple operating systems and devices that will be used to access the applications in the event of an outage. An application that runs in its native environment is ideal, he says, because there is no need to adapt it for multiple operating systems and platforms. Multiple devices are simply used as access tools, and the application itself runs as always.

In addition, it's important to consider bandwidth when looking to virtualise the application environment. "Many solutions were built for an international market, where bandwidth is very affordable. But for the South African and African markets, it is important that the solution's bandwidth requirements are kept as low as possible."

The question of whether to make use of a private or public cloud is still an important consideration, Timperley says. "Most companies prefer the idea of a private cloud - mainly for control and management, and because they don't want to relinquish their data centre to a public cloud. However, greenfield and SME firms are more likely to choose a public cloud, where they can benefit from economies of scale."

Timperley will address the upcoming ITWeb Business Continuity 2012 conference on the ideal architectures to ensure continuity. He will also deliver a case study on the benefits of virtualisation in disaster recovery. The event will be held at The Forum, in Bryanston, on 13 November. For more information, click here.

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