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Recent blog posts

By Glen Bricker, Avalution Consulting
Originally posted on Avalution Consulting’s Blog

Many organizations think having a disaster recovery plan is all the protection they need from disasters. However, there is so much more to disaster recovery than just a plan! That’s why most industry professionals see disaster recovery as an ongoing program or process that contains a number of distinct elements. Key process activities include:

  • Business engagement and establishment of business requirements (through business impact analyses and risk assessments), resulting in the definition of recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives, and downtime procedures (manual workarounds)
  • Identification, evaluation, and selection of appropriate recovery approaches to achieve business requirements, including  defined ongoing budget commitments and staff allocations
  • Development of plans for technical recovery and coordination of the recovery effort
  • Execution of ongoing exercising and training

In addition to process elements, the following governance activities are also typically performed:


..goes unpunished, they say. Nowhere is that more true than with those who respond to disasters- natural or man-made, where death and severe injury is present.  These workers are at risk of experiencing stress from what psychologists refer to as a traumatic incident. A traumatic incident is one that may involve exposure to catastrophic events, severely injured children or adults, dead bodies or body parts, or a loss of colleagues. All workers involved in response activities help themselves and their coworkers and reduce the risk of experiencing stress associated with a traumatic incident by utilizing simple methods to recognize, monitor, and maintain health on-site and following such experiences.  

A Personal Case Study

As emergency responders, we often feel a need to “be brave”, impervious to the bad things we see, stoic in the face of tragedy. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The very parts of our nature that drive us to respond to disasters- to help those most affected- also prevents us from turning a completely blind eye to what we witness. We may fool ourselves for a while, but sooner or later, it will surface.

Immediately following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I found myself in New Orleans, serving in the city’s Emergency Operations Center as a Safety Officer. In the ten months I served, four of those months were with the New Orleans Fire Department‘s Urban Search and Rescue team. From March through June, 2006, our mission was to make a final sweep through New Orleans devastated 9th Ward searching for any as yet unfound victims. This entailed going from one ruined home to another, led by teams of cadaver dogs. Climbing over stinking refuse and debris, trying to block out the fact that these had been people’s homes- where children had been raised, homework done, Christmases and birthdays celebrated. And yes, even 6 months after the storms, there were remains to be found. During this mission, twenty six total. 


TSM architecture gives STORServer customers long-term control

 By: John Pearring, STORServer


Virtual this and virtual that have become watchwords for technology geeks tracking what’s happening in the IT centers of practically every sized company. But a revolutionary idea that has almost three decades of development behind it makes virtual storage a reality for data protection aficionados.

Get this. How about a backup and archive architecture that doesn’t store your data on media? How is that possible? By designing backup and archive buckets, or pools, that float like clouds right in your own datacenter.


It may be the middle of the summer, but we've got our eyes on September and more specifically on DRJ Fall World. This blog post continues our series on highlighting the learning and networking opportunities you'll have at our September 22-25 conference in San Diego.

In this post, we're taking a closer look at the Tuesday Workshops. These workshops are designed to give you learning opportunities that take the knowledge you gained from the General Sessions and Breakout Tracks to the next level. 

One of the keys to the Tuesday Workshops is that they're designed to be interactive and they are focused on experience level - so regardless of your level of BC knowledge, you'll find a workshop that meets your needs.

Tagged in: DRJ Fall World

Do you know where your data will be in 7 years?

 Seven years ago, you had a pager or really big phone that did not get email. You watched analog TV and bought CDs and DVDs. Life and technology is quite different nowadays. You have a smartphone, hi-def TV, iTunes and Netflix. Can you imagine what you will have seven years from now?

 You have no idea. The same is true in the IT world. Do you know what type of media your data will be on in seven years? You can guess, but you really don’t know. You are LTO4 or LTO5 today, but in seven years, you could be on LTO19 or even some new technology.


In our ongoing blog series on DRJ Fall World, we'll take a closer look at the Breakout Tracks that are available to you. These Breakout Tracks are focused on giving you that next step in learning - allowing you to focus on the topics and questions that you really want to learn more about. 

As you'll learn, our Breakout Tracks cover a range of topics and geared towards all knowledge levels and experience with business continuity. These hour-long sessions are focused on getting you the information that you can take back to your company or organization. 

The Monday, September 23 Breakout Tracks include:

Tagged in: DRJ Fall World

You have to plan your data protection. While this might seem like an obvious statement, most people don’t think about it until after they have a solution in place.

Did you sit down with your database administrator to get their requirements? Did you actually vet those requirements? Come on, you know they’re going to tell you they need full hot backups every night and to keep that data forever. Give me a break. They have no idea the cost and burden that puts on the infrastructure and the daily batch processing.

Planning is key 


Posted by on in DRJ Blogs

When we think of disasters and the workplace, its usually in the context of a natural disater such as tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes- depending on where one is located. But these are actually the tip of the iceberg- which is a good analogy in fact. The iceberg that was struck by the Titanic would not be considered a "natural disaster" in the same way as a hurricane, but it was no less a disaster for the Titanic.

Because of the belief that the ship was unsinkable, less attention was given to preparing for such an event. Any instructions on how to abandon ship, don life vests, etc., were given tongue in cheek, if at all. Design and other interests were given precedence over providing sufficient life boats, primarily due to management perception that "it can't happen here."

When an emergency strikes your workplace, there's no time for hesitation-or for trying to figure out what to do. To survive an emergency, you and your workforce have to already know what to do. Emergency plans must be well developed, well practiced, and ready to be put into action at a moment's notice.


Big data, big changes, big trouble (in Little China)

Every day you add more data to your infrastructure. Some analysts say it averages 20 percent year on year. There are certain types of organizations that can change up to 60 percent year on year. One way or another, data keeps growing and you keep buying more storage, and that can cause big trouble.

In 1986, the movie “Big Trouble in Little China” was released and changed the world. Its “B” grade kung fu moves and effects made everyone laugh, but there was a serious element to the movie too that translates into the world of IT. The main character Jack Burton said, “I'm a reasonable guy. But, I've just experienced some very unreasonable things.” This profound statement really does rock the IT world.


Posted by on in DRJ Blogs

By Luis Tapia
Originally posted on Disaster Junkie's Blog

After playing through a post-apocalyptic themed video game last night, I thought about the recent success of several disaster related genres. Perhaps the most notable would be the zombie craze, which arguably is enjoying its golden age in television and film.

Last year, the CDC acknowledged the zombie phenomenon by releasing zombie preparedness advice via the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. Division Director Dr. Ali Khan noted "If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack."


In a previous post, we took a look at the Sunday Workshops available to you at the 2013 DRJ Fall World conference. In this post, we'll get into the General Sessions so you can get a good understanding of the learning, networking, and training opportunities available to you.

General Sessions are held each morning and are targeted to a broad audience. All attendees attend these sessions in the morning. Our presenters are the top experts in the field, bringing only the most relevant topics and the best strategies. 

The Monday General Sessions include:


You are an administrator of your company’s IT infrastructure. Before you came along, it was someone else’s job, but you inherited their mess. While another person built the infrastructure, it is now your responsibility to manage everything that happens within it. 


That inherited infrastructure is the DNA of your business. All of your plans, projects, business and customer information exist in the form of 1’s and 0’s. Just like DNA, those 1’s and 0’s are the building blocks of everything else you do. 


By Brian Zawada, Avalution Consulting
Originally posted on Avalution Consulting’s Blog

Similar to other management systems standards, ISO 22301 is based on the ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’ model that seeks to improve – in a continual manner – the effectiveness of the organization’s performance through proficient planning, implementation, supervision, review and maintenance.

As such, it is only proper that we discuss the relationship of ISO 22301 with other management systems standards.  The following summary offers a high-level comparison between ISO 22301 and another widely-adopted management systems standard, British Standard (BS) 25999-2 (2007). 


Virtualization technology has helped IT organizations of all sizes reduce costs by improving server utilization and reducing application provisioning times. However, this produces two new problems that most people do not account for when choosing a data protection solution. First, the cost savings offered by virtualization can disappear quickly in the face of virtual machine sprawl. Second, the link between physical and logical devices becomes harder to map and track, making a virtual environment more complex than most can imagine.

Data protection can become a unique challenge in these environments. For example, backing up and restoring data for a dozen or more virtual machines residing on one physical server can bring all other operations on that server to a complete halt.

 ll that being said, when searching for a data protection solution, be sure to investigate whether the product provides an effective solution to this challenge by eliminating the burden of running backups on a virtual machine and instead off-loading backup workloads from a VMware ESX or ESXi-based server to a centralized vStorage backup server. The solution must improve the frequency of protection and enable faster recovery of data, helping increase the business value of virtualization. The solution should also help organizations reduce license management costs by removing agents from the individual virtual machines.


Ah June, the month when people start thinking about vacation plans, summer camp and getting away from the office for a bit.... Well, for us at DRJ, we've got something else on our minds - Fall World 2013.

To say that we're excited and looking forward to this upcoming conference would be an understatement. If you're a regular reader of this blog then you'll likely have read about our new venue (Hilton San Diego Bayfront) and you've probably visited our blog to learn more about the changes we have planned.

But what about the sessions, workshops and learning tracks? We want you to get the most you can out of Fall World 2013- so to help you, here is a synopsis of our Sunday Workshops:

Tagged in: Fall World

IT organizations can drive up the cost of storage unnecessarily by treating all data the same and storing it all on the same media. I have said many times that all data is not created equal. When looking for a data protection solution, managing the ones and zeros from the time they are created to the time you can delete them is very important.

Long-term archive and hierarchical storage management (HSM) allow organizations to store data on different tiers based on specific policies, enabling administrators to migrate and store data on the most appropriate tier. For example, older and less frequently accessed data can be moved to a slower, less-expensive storage platform, such as tape, leaving more expensive disk storage available for more high-value data. Automated data archiving also helps organizations ensure compliance with data retention policies and reduce the costs associated with compliance.

When making a decision about data protection, look only for solutions that help reduce costs by providing automated, policy-based data life-cycle management, moving data to the most cost-effective tier of storage while still meeting service level requirements. This will help ensure recovery objectives are met while enabling transparent data access. Do not be fooled by vendors who tell you that backup and recovery are enough.


Posted by on in DRJ Blogs

If you work within the Human Resources department at your organization, it is highly likely that you have witnessed a transition from traditional web hosting to the cloud over the past few years. Cloud technology provides numerous benefits to a corporation’s HR department besides hosting a website. 

Perhaps the most important benefit of cloud technology is the fact that subscribing to such a service is extremely budget-friendly. With cloud hosting, you are not held responsible for updating the hardware and maintaining the software—the provider handles all this. These are features that you would normally be charged for in a traditional solution. 

Updating software and keeping up with licenses is a hassle. But with a cloud solution, your HR department will no longer need to worry about keeping such software up to date; again, the provider is the one held responsible. 


There are many data protection products on the market today, and all of them have features and functions that make them stand out. But, one of the major items you need to consider is how easy the solution is to use. When it comes down to “brass tax,” ease of use is one of the most important items. After all, the person responsible for data protection may not have a huge skill set or the time to spend on managing the solution on a day-to-day basis.

When choosing a data protection solution, look for the ability to manage the system from a single pane of glass. The user interface also needs to be so simple that within a few minutes all daily tasks can be completed. As a bonus, look for a solution that sends alerts to your email and mobile device, including everything you need to know about the previous night’s activity and the status of those activities in a report that’s simple to read and understand. 

This simple to use requirement dovetails into historical reporting. If you know what the solution is doing on a day-to-day basis, then you should also be able to tell what the system has been doing for the last few days, weeks, months or even longer. This allows for planning the future with little to no hands on work. For example, if you have a report that gives you weekly growth for the last 26 weeks, you would be able to predict when you are going to run out of space in your solution or when you need to purchase more tapes. It is a very simple example, but it shows that the solution should help you plan for the future as well as operate today. And, following this example, you would be able to budget six months or more in the future for growth—a great advantage when budgets are tight.


Everyone knows that cloud computing allows users to access information instantaneously and lifts the burden of continuous server maintenance, but there is another benefit that many have not thought about: the “living approach” to product development. 

Through the living approach, cloud hosting providers develop system enhancements and upgrades based on communicated customer needs and are released to users as soon as they become available. This allows clients to receive new features faster than they would with a normal product development environment, and these features are more closely linked to their personal needs. 

Inherently, the living environment fosters communication among users and potential customers, creating close relationships both amongst themselves and with the provider. Through online forums built directly into their software, users can request new necessary improvements that may not have been noticed by others. Once these improvements have been developed, cloud providers release them as soon as they possibly can, making their customers happy and talking about their company. 


At the end of the day, the real value of a data protection system lies in its ability to restore data when and where needed. If data fails to restore successfully, some part of the business is going to suffer, possibly with costly consequences. As a result, reliability is a key measure of a solution’s ROI.

 You could have the best, most expensive, fastest data protection solution in the world, but if your data cannot be retrieved and used in a timely fashion, the point is moot.

When choosing a solution for data protection, look for experience in the data protection market—years spent protecting the business critical data of some of the largest organizations in the world. This is not a professional sports draft and you are not looking for the diamond in the rough that can be molded into the perfect player (solution).