Ensure Recovery with a Multi-Pronged Approach

by Ashutosh Desai    Nov 30, 2009

Business continuity is as an important part of staying competitive in the marketplace. A working disaster recovery plan ensures that critical applications continue to be available — to customers and employees. An interview with Lakshman Narayanaswamy, co-founder and VP (products), Sanovi Technologies.

What are the challenges DRM solution providers such as Sanovi have to deal with in India? Do organisations give enough importance to business continuity?
Organisations choose their disaster recovery (DR) solution and strategy based on business recovery needs. The big business risk corporate houses face is they do not know if their DR solution is working and if they will be able to recover when the occasion demands.

Sanovi’s software provides monitoring capabilities to ensure that the DR solution is working and is meeting recovery SLAs. It also provides industry best practices automation of application recovery, so that dependence on people and failures due to operator errors are eliminated. Sanovi DR Management software provides modules like Recovery Monitoring, Recovery Manager and DR DrillManager to ensure organisations that their DR will work when they need it.
How does Sanovi tackle these challenges? Should government bodies be more active in this?
In industry verticals where IT sustains growth, regulation will help to ensure that companies have a DR strategy; and customer related information and access to services is maintained or restored. Some examples of these are banking, health care, e-governance, utilities. Sanovi is actively raising awareness that one of the biggest risks to businesses today is IT outage. This has to be addressed using an appropriate disaster recovery plan.
DRM is viewed as an enterprise-only solution. Given the sheer number of small and medium businesses in the country, what are the product offerings Sanovi provides to this segment?

The finance vertical is the biggest consumer for DR management solutions. The key drivers are regulation that requires banks to demonstrate their DR capability and the financial impact of downtime. SMB markets are increasingly deploying DR for their critical applications. Their recovery SLAs are a bit different and the DR solution architecture must scale to meet their budget and skill set needs.

Sanovi’s approach to DR is to deliver ‘cookie cutter’ solutions that follow industry best practices. This will help drive (down) the cost of DR implementation and offer value to SMB customers.

What is the strategy to reach out to smaller towns? Are partners trained to provide support as well?
SMB customers in B- and C-class cities are becoming more aware of the need for DR. Their business process requires critical IT applications to be up. They are also looking for cost effective solutions hence solutions that package best process and cost effective technologies that can be delivered effectively by the channel is a big opportunity for the channel. 

The BFSI and telecom sector understands the need for a DRM policy and have also implemented them — partly because of RBI regulations and the certainty of losing valuable customers. According to Sanovi, which verticals need to take disaster recovery more seriously and include it in its IT policy and budget?
BFSI companies are under pressure from regulators and competitive pressure to ensure IT uptime. The chief challenges in having a DR solution that works are:

  • Do not have real-time visibility to know if the DR solution meets business recovery goals of application recovery point.
  • Recovery is manual and dependent on the right people being available. They do not know if the application will recover with business set recovery time.
  • DR Drills (testing) is manual and time intensive, unable to test all critical applications within a calendar year as required by audit and regulators.                  

Manufacturing, health care, telecom, e-governance and retail all have critical IT applications. Companies in these verticals cannot afford to take the business risk of not available for business since IT is down.
What are the technological challenges in disaster recovery and management? How does one cope with ever-increasing storage requirements, bandwidth bottlenecks, etc.?
The heterogeneous nature of the data centre and the myriad ways of deploying applications poses a challenge to IT managers in having a recovery strategy for their critical applications. Further, as the amount of storage keeps going up the data that must be protected needs a bigger network pipe.

Customers need a multi-pronged approach to ensuring recovery. Foremost, they need to deploy a disaster recovery solution and be confident that it will work when they want to recover their applications. As part of an overall IT strategy, they need to put in place strategies that will help manage data growth and assign levels of importance to the data so as to ensure whatever is critical for the running of the business is always available at the DR site.
Are managed DR services for a particular customer profile?
Managed DR services are attractive across the spectrum of all customers. Customers that outsource some or all of their IT functions understand the value proposition of DR managed service immediately. A managed service eliminates the need for DR expertise and allows the IT team to focus on key deliverables of the business.
Last year, Sanovi partnered with Wipro to mainly target the tier-I cities. Are there similar plans to add more partners in the future and extend your reach?
We aim to make all our partners successful by investing time and resources to ensure they have the skills to sell, deploy and service our customers. We are closely working our current partners to extend our market reach while working with other select partners to extend our reach.

Could you share some of the points you shared at recently held Infra Vision event?
There are three key recommendations for businesses to help deploy a successful DR solution,

  • Remember that data replication is one piece of the DR solution — it is not the be all and end-all of DR.
  • DR is a life cycle — all the phases of the life cycle must be considered, designed for the process and technology to work.
  • Do not view DR as an insurance policy. It is very possible to build a return on investment case such that IT agility and the overall recovery readiness of IT applications dramatically improve.