There is a lot of confusion in the industry between Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) and business continuity (BC). Backup and disaster recovery means preparing for the worst by backing up and replicating data to protected sites.
Business continuity is the process of ensuring that the business can recover to an operational state within a reasonably short time. BC incorporates planning, technology, and processes that work together to make sure that an organization can operate in the face of serious data disasters. BDR is a distinct component of that capability, but simply protecting data is not enough. For business continuity, you need rapid recovery and the ability to failover critical applications.
Business Continuity Software Comparison
This post deals specifically with a single – and vital — BC technology component: rapid recovery and failover. This is still a broad topic, so our business continuity software comparison will further narrow it down to software-only, i.e. business continuity offerings that are not tied to a specific hardware system.
We’ll also narrow it down to vendors who serve mid-sized organizations that are too big for consumer level backup products, and too small for large enterprise global BC deployments. The below are some of the most representative and best-known vendors in this segment.
Commvault data protection software is dedicated to the enterprise and larger mid-sized, and can be complex and expensive. However, they do have some excellent offerings around edge protection as well as protecting filesystems, applications, and databases. Commvault offers failover software that runs on a standby CommServe Host server.
Veritas markets its software to the enterprise, but mid-sized and SME with virtual environments can use Resiliency Platform to keep their virtual environments running. The Platform supports VMware and Hyper-V and runs on private, hybrid, and public clouds.
Zetta delivers business continuity via Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). The vendor specializes in rapidly recovering large data sets including critical applications and databases. Customers can replicate their servers and network configuration to the cloud and spin them up when needed. Users access the applications using a secure VPN connection while Zetta rapidly recovers applications, data, and servers to the customer site.
Acronis Backup 12 is a cloud-based offering that centrally manages protected data on-premise, in the cloud, and on the edge. Instant Restore virtualizes failover by running any physical or virtual Windows or Linux system backup as a VMware or Hyper-V VM.
FreeStor is a software-defined storage platform with business continuity capabilities. These features centrally monitor and replicate protected systems. FalconStor RecoverTrac recovers files, databases, systems, and sites across Physical-to-Physical (P2P), Virtual-to-Physical (V2P), Physical-to-Virtual (P2V), and Virtual-to-Virtual (V2V) servers.
Unitrends is best known for its purpose-built backup appliances, but also offers virtual appliances for heterogeneous environments. Unitrends offers instant recovery of downed applications and servers across single or multiple sites, and Recovery Assurance verifies successful recovery operations.
Druva InSync is the vendor’s flagship data protection product. Druva Phoenix is a new offering that continuously backs up VMware environments to Amazon AWS, and enables customers to automatically recover and spin up their VMs in the Amazon public cloud.
A downtime incident can severely affect a business’s end-users, customers, and partners. Backup and recovery is the basis of a DR/BC plan but getting the data and applications back up and running again is the real point.
The investment need is obvious, but don’t assume that you are doomed to an expensive cure that seems worse than the disease. Several of the above vendors are highly cost-effective, and enable you to achieve business continuity at a very reasonable price.