Being prepared with disaster recovery programs saved many businesses along the Gulf Coast, including a major law firm that depended on help from BluPointe DRS, an Atlanta-based solution provider specializing in disaster recovery.
Fisher & Phillips, a large Atlanta-based law firm specializing in labor law, has been backing data to a remote site for the past two years using technology from Toronto-based Asigra, said Ron Roberts, president of BluPointe. Lawyers in the New Orleans office left the city Monday morning to move to other offices, and by Monday afternoon already had access to their data.
Moving to disk-based and remote backups is an important way to recover after a disaster as quickly as possible, said Roberts. "I feel sorry looking at those businesses that spent all those dollars on traditional backups and all they have now are soggy tapes," he said.
There are still a lot of companies that rely on tapes for emergencies, and for many of them Katrina has become a wake-up call. "Most companies rely on traditional data protection methods to solve their backup, disaster recovery, and recovery efforts," Roberts said. "I don't think they understand the difficulty that is involved in recovery. They don't understand how slow it is to move data from tape to an off-site data center and then recover the data."
Not being prepared for the disaster of Hurricane Katrina will hurt a company that never got around to signing a contract with Hewlett-Packard Business Continuity Services.
The large New Orleans-based manufacturer has a proposal on its desk from HP for business continuity services for four or five months, but has not acted on it, said Belinda Wilson, executive director for business continuity services.
On the day after the hurricane, the company's executives called HP expecting to be up and running, but were in for a rude awakening. "They found out that the proposal was not acted on," Wilson said. "So they had a false sense of security from a program they expected to be in place but was not."
Other HP customers have already moved their operations to HP disaster centers under disaster recovery programs they had in place with the vendor, Wilson said.
Such clients have two options in case of a disaster. They can either call for alert if there is advanced warning of a disaster, in which case HP starts preparing their data in case of a move. Or they can do a declaration of disaster, in which case they are already enroute to the HP data center.
Wilson said she has seen a change in how customers react to potential disasters, with many of them more likely to jump straight to the disaster declaration than was the case last year.
Many more clients are now doing asynchronous backups to HP's data centers than in the past, Wilson said. "When they declare, the data is already there for them," she said. "Many companies have huge and growing databases. They can get running in six hours, but may need up to 48 hours to get their data. So many are doing synchronous replications on-site, and asynchronous replication to off-site data centers."