How Far Have Solutions to Data Recovery Problems Come?

by | Jun 4, 2013 | Business Continuity

It’s Remarkable to See How Far Have Solutions to Data Recovery Problems Come

It may come as a surprise that solutions to data recovery problems actually go back over 100 years. The 1890 US Census was actually machine enabled through Herman Hollerith’s invention of tabulating machines run with punch cards that reduced the time of processing the data from 8 years (were it done by hand down) to 1 year. These punch cards were the precursors to computer punch cards and duplicating them with a machine in large stacks was fairly simple. Magnetic tape storage made its debut in the 1950s, largely thanks to IBM and mainframe computing. In a way, the mainframe architecture made backup easier than we would expect: the hardware, program, and data were all separate entities. The application data and the information to be processed were on separate reels, and not only were magnetic reels fairly easy to duplicate, in the event of a hardware emergency the business could take its tapes over to a backup site and continue work.

Data, applications, and operating systems would eventually become more intertwined, even with the introduction of sophisticated databases storage. Databases have been the mainstay of business storage since the mid-late 70s but routine backup of data to offsite locations has its limits as it means a potentially expensive investment in hardware and a recovery plan that must fit in with the business process. In this situation, data recovery problems are time and labor intensive to get things back to normal in the event of an emergency.

However, we have reached an age in which the ease of recovering an entire environment now matches the ease of duplicating those stacks of punch cards. Thanks to server virtualization, it is possible to restore the entire runtime of a system and recover a business machine in what would have been regarded ages ago as instantaneously. We have honed the technology of imaging and instancing operating system runtimes on virtual machines. Backups can also be tested regularly for integrity. In the event of a disaster, a system can be brought up and accessed remotely through an off-site recovery cloud within minutes. In fact, such a data recovery problems and processes can be automated optimally such that the user does not need IT professional supervision to initiate or complete it. The capabilities are sophisticated and rapidly becoming more sophisticated as cloud services, bandwidth, and network utilization become more economical.

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It is commercially feasible for nearly any business to run its recovery operations at this level thanks to improvement in network bandwidth and cloud storage. Contact a trusted IT disaster recovery provider to learn how to avoid data recovery problems.

Dale Shulmistra is a Business Continuity Specialist at Invenio IT, responsible for shaping the company’s technology initiatives -- selecting, designing, implementing & supporting business continuity solutions to bolster client operational efficiencies and eliminate downtime.