Gordon MacArthur – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Wed, 20 Feb 2019 20:46:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Don’t Go the Distance: Keep Your Data Close to Home https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/dont-go-the-distance-keep-your-data-close-to-home/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/dont-go-the-distance-keep-your-data-close-to-home/#respond Tue, 16 Jul 2013 13:06:57 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=14402 For years, business continuity solution experts have been telling you that the best way to meet all of your disaster recovery needs is to have two data centers: one close to your company headquarters, and one more 250 miles away. This way, you would be protected from any natural disaster that may occur and damage […]

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For years, business continuity solution experts have been telling you that the best way to meet all of your disaster recovery needs is to have two data centers: one close to your company headquarters, and one more 250 miles away. This way, you would be protected from any natural disaster that may occur and damage your primary data center. We’ve been telling you to go the distance, the further the better! That was the best advice at the time, based on the technology architectures available.  But, new technologies and approaches have emerged, and we are now helping companies take advantage of them.

We’ve discovered that natural disasters only account for a mere one percent of all data center downtime. The other ninety-nine percent of downtime is due to human error, and mostly planned downtime (such as hardware upgrades and database extracts). In other words, many companies’ current disaster recovery solution only protects their data from 1 percent of the incidents that may potentially shut down the data center.

So, what about the other ninety-nine percent of events that effect availability? How do you protect your data from the most common forms of availability disruptions? How do you protect your data when you really need to

EMC’s Continuous Availability boasts active/active protection. With Continuous Availability, you will not need to fail-over to the secondary site because your information is already there. During downtime, whether planned or unplanned, your information is already protected and you will experience no interruptions.  So, when people say “My data centers are too far apart for Continuous Availability,” I say, “Yes, you’re right. But they shouldn’t be.” By adding a data center (and possibly removing your secondary one) that is about sixty miles away from your primary center, you can have an active/active availability solution that will protect you from nearly all events that effect availability, not just site outages..

Join me and my colleague David Edborg for a webinar on July 24 where we will discuss more on the benefits of moving to a Continuous Availability solution, as well as how to achieve it.  Register for Efficiency, Affordability & Simplicity of Continuous Availability.

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How Long Before Continuous Availability Becomes the Norm? https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/how-long-before-continuous-availability-becomes-the-norm/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/how-long-before-continuous-availability-becomes-the-norm/#respond Wed, 20 Feb 2013 18:25:56 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=12464 Findings from a recent Forrester Research white paper indicate that adoption of a continuous availability approach is strong.  In a roundtable discussion, Stephanie Balaouras, Vice President, Research Director of Forrester Research, talks about how long she thinks it will take before continuous availability becomes the norm for IT organizations, and she highlights the things she thinks […]

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Findings from a recent Forrester Research white paper indicate that adoption of a continuous availability approach is strong.  In a roundtable discussion, Stephanie Balaouras, Vice President, Research Director of Forrester Research, talks about how long she thinks it will take before continuous availability becomes the norm for IT organizations, and she highlights the things she thinks get in the way for companies that want to execute a continuous availability strategy.  Watch Part 2 of How Enterprises are Improving Business Resiliency with Continuous IT Availability and learn more about what Stephanie recommends for organizations that want to begin their journey to continuous availability.

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Why are Organizations Adopting Continuous Availability? https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/why-are-organizations-adopting-continuous-availability/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/why-are-organizations-adopting-continuous-availability/#respond Tue, 12 Feb 2013 15:32:57 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=12347 Recently, Paul Danahy, EMC Sr. Director, Global Product Sales, and I had a chance to sit down with Stephanie Balaouras, Vice President and Research Director of Forrester Research to talk about a study she recently completed for EMC on continuous availability.  In our discussion, she shared some important data points, which I would like to […]

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Recently, Paul Danahy, EMC Sr. Director, Global Product Sales, and I had a chance to sit down with Stephanie Balaouras, Vice President and Research Director of Forrester Research to talk about a study she recently completed for EMC on continuous availability.  In our discussion, she shared some important data points, which I would like to review here:

  • 61 percent of IT decision-makers and influencers reported that purchasing or upgrading business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities was a top priority.
  • Many also are looking to improve their high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) solutions to assure a HA and DR infrastructure is embedded in their IT infrastructure and architecture and not an afterthought.  While many companies approached HA and DR separately in the past, they now are starting to bring them together.
  • Many organizations are uncomfortable with their current availability strategies because there is so much complexity and change in their environments.
  • 44 percent of companies have moved to active-active data centers, which is a first step to achieving continuous availability.

To learn more about Stephanie’s perspective and to hear how she defines continuous availability and what companies need to do to achieve it, watch Part 1 of the 3-part video:  How Enterprises are Improving Resiliency with Continuous IT Availability.

 

 

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Data Center Distances: Making the Right Choice https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/data-center-distances-making-the-right-choice/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/data-center-distances-making-the-right-choice/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2012 14:23:18 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=11352 As I meet with CIOs and technologists about the business continuity and disaster recovery needs of their organizations, I am getting many questions about the new data center distances that EMC’s new Continuous Availability solutions introduce.  Key to the conversation is answering one question:  What is the right distance that companies should maintain between their […]

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As I meet with CIOs and technologists about the business continuity and disaster recovery needs of their organizations, I am getting many questions about the new data center distances that EMC’s new Continuous Availability solutions introduce.  Key to the conversation is answering one question:  What is the right distance that companies should maintain between their primary and secondary data centers? 

The fact is there has been much discussion on this topic over the past 20 years or more, so it might be helpful to look at things in perspective. After 911, there were several white papers and regulatory bodies strongly recommending that a company’s secondary site should be “out of region”.  This term was defined as more than 250 miles from the primary site and was achievable with the ability to do replication over distance. Some organizations implemented this concept by moving their secondary site cross-country or overseas. But, the long distance between sites came at cost. The cost was data loss, maybe only minutes worth but valued at too high a price to sacrifice for many financial firms and companies with highly critical workloads.  As a result, a majority of the financial community chose to keep their second data center within synchronous distance to ensure it would not have any data loss during an outage. This fact is compelling, especially when combined with the information from the NOAA and USGS that tells us the largest non-coastal disaster covered only 25 miles in distance and the largest coastal disaster radius is only 44 miles. Based on this data, one could conclude that distances as low as the 44- to 60-mile range would be totally acceptable for primary and secondary data centers and would stand the test of time.

Since I have been in the business continuity and disaster recovery industry for more than 20 years, and I am able to contact many of my colleagues and customers, I thought I might do my own informal poll. I asked the question, “In your entire career do you know of any organization that has lost their primary and secondary site in a regional disaster?” So far, I have not found one. I would welcome any feedback from anyone who may want to weigh in on this issue.

So what has changed recently to make an adjustment to data center distances? For the first time in my career, companies are implementing truly Active/Active data centers over distances from 44 miles up to 120 miles apart. The new secret sauce here is EMC’s VPLEX Metro, integrated with some “off the shelf” technologies to provide — for the very first time — a continuously available architecture.

The ability to completely eliminate downtime and data loss is so compelling, I think we will see several organizations migrate from their long distance strategy to this one. For those still concerned about the distance risk, you can still bunker a copy of your data at an unlimited distance away and have a “quick ship” recovery in the unlikely event of an area outage.

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After Virtualization: Is Continuous Availability the Next Wave? https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/after-virtualization-is-continuous-availability-the-next-wave/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/after-virtualization-is-continuous-availability-the-next-wave/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2012 14:44:53 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=10902 You may be wondering where the linkage is between virtualization and continuous availability (CA) — two computing trends that are getting a lot of attention these days.  As you know, virtualization has been the hottest “no brainer” migration over the past 5 to 7 years.  But, it was not always that way.  Seven years ago, […]

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You may be wondering where the linkage is between virtualization and continuous availability (CA) — two computing trends that are getting a lot of attention these days.  As you know, virtualization has been the hottest “no brainer” migration over the past 5 to 7 years.  But, it was not always that way.  Seven years ago, it was a completely different story. Many clients felt that virtualization was not a big deal as it only worked for Intel environments.  Then the value proposition became so strong that clients starting migrating their workloads to Intel platforms so that they could take advantage of the incredible cost savings.

The interesting parallel here is while the continuous availability or “Active Active” architectures do not support all IT platforms, there is a compelling reason to move to ones that do.  I think clients will begin to migrate to those that work with continuous availability architectures because of the incredible value proposition. To be able to completely eliminate downtime and data loss over acceptable distances – in most cases at a lower cost – is simply too compelling to ignore.

Now I didn’t come up with this idea all on my own. I formulated this theory at a recent customer meeting when I was sitting down with the CIO and VP of Applications of a large Life Sciences organization—I usually get my best ideas from clients!  I described the new continuously available architecture, and my client said “This is awesome, but my most critical application will not run on it.”

Before I could respond, he went on to say, “But we have been looking for a good reason to migrate SAP from AIX Linux for some time now, and this new CA solution looks to be the best reason to migrate we have seen.”  He also said: “I remember when you guys were in here telling us about VMware 6 or 7 years ago, and we told you it was just a toy because it did not support UNIX. Then look what happened.  We migrated hundreds of applications to take advantage of the incredible benefits, and I like the idea of doing the same thing here.”

My take-away here is that many companies, including my client, are migrating to this new world, because of the potential to save millions of dollars, as well as to strengthen and simplify their availability approach. It may be time to start looking at what a continuous availability approach can mean for you.

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Why are Companies Adopting Continuous Availability? https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/why-are-companies-adopting-continuous-availability/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/why-are-companies-adopting-continuous-availability/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2012 16:46:00 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=10489 Technology leaders are looking for new availability solutions because expectations have grown.  It is almost as if IT Services have become a utility where you flip a switch or hit an “Enter” key, and users have access to their applications and data, regardless of the time or location. But enabling an “Always-Being-On-&-Available” IT services posture […]

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Technology leaders are looking for new availability solutions because expectations have grown.  It is almost as if IT Services have become a utility where you flip a switch or hit an “Enter” key, and users have access to their applications and data, regardless of the time or location.

But enabling an “Always-Being-On-&-Available” IT services posture has led to enormous expenditures and a labyrinth of different solutions and techniques to eliminate single points of failure that could potentially take down access to the entire data center.

Companies that have been reassessing their availability approach have found that the biggest limitation to being “Always-On” lies in the area of disaster recovery.  While many organizations do a great job of data protection, but disaster recovery is a challenge in most organizations because of:

    1. Lack of “off-the-shelf” technology to do better
    2. Lack of focus
    3. Lack of funding  — (Who wants to pay for expensive solutions that have a limited payback?)

So why should companies consider undertaking the journey to Continuous Availability?  The reason is that even with great business continuity plans and disaster recovery programs in place, organizations know that should a site be lost, it often will take weeks to restore full service, if at all.

Continuous Availability offers organizations the opportunity to:

  • Merge high availability and disaster recovery  resources into one availability solution
  • Eliminate downtime for a multitude of scenarios, including site loss, storage loss, infrastructure loss, unscheduled downtime and scheduled downtime
  • Eliminate most disaster recovery scenarios
    • Eliminate RTO & RPO
    • 5X9s of availability across 2-metro distance sites
  • Potentially reduce compute costs 40-60 percent
    • Splitting existing clusters between sites
    • Using fractional provisioning
    • Leveraging existing technologies
    • Reducing operational complexity
    • Minimizing idle assets and OS maintenance

Listen to the video below to get some new ideas for supporting lower tiered applications using Recovery-as-a-Service cloud offerings.  Also gain more information on what we are hearing from CIOs about out-tasking Continuous Availability solution.

 

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CIOs are Re-envisioning their Availability Architecture https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/cios-are-re-envisioning-their-availability-architecture/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/cios-are-re-envisioning-their-availability-architecture/#respond Tue, 23 Oct 2012 19:30:18 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=9944 Have you heard about Continuous Availability?  It is a new approach to your data center architecture that can help companies simplify their availability environment, eliminate downtime and reduce operating expense.  By adopting this new approach, IT service organizations can avoid high availability and disaster recovery fail-over and can offer redundant services up and down the […]

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Have you heard about Continuous Availability?  It is a new approach to your data center architecture that can help companies simplify their availability environment, eliminate downtime and reduce operating expense.  By adopting this new approach, IT service organizations can avoid high availability and disaster recovery fail-over and can offer redundant services up and down the stack without expensive custom solutions.

Also, Continuous Availability makes more efficient use of personnel and delivers better availability with fewer server hardware platforms.  Companies we have worked with have realized these results:

  • Reduced acquisition and hardware maintenance, as well as software maintenance and deployment costs
  • Near-elimination of idle assets
  • Elimination of disaster recovery and high availability fail-over
  • Fewer downtime scenarios
  • A simplified environment with fewer servers to maintain and monitor and faster problem resolution
  • Use of off-the-shelf technology

Listen to the video below to hear about how several companies reduced costs and enabled higher levels of service through Continuous Availability.

 

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Rethinking Traditional Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/rethinking-traditional-business-continuity-and-disaster-recovery/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/gordon_macarthur/rethinking-traditional-business-continuity-and-disaster-recovery/#respond Wed, 26 Sep 2012 16:05:27 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=9246   Hello – welcome to my first blog which I suppose we could also describe as the “the Availability blog” to be seeded with a range of thoughts & ideas  from myself and other security practitioners  from EMC Consulting.  I have been working with CIOs across many vertical industries on storage and availability issues for […]

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Hello – welcome to my first blog which I suppose we could also describe as the “the Availability blog” to be seeded with a range of thoughts & ideas  from myself and other security practitioners  from EMC Consulting.  I have been working with CIOs across many vertical industries on storage and availability issues for more than 20 years.  Never have I heard so much discussion about new and expanding technology and risk challenges that are emerging in the IT data center. We are living in an unprecedented time for organizations to best leverage their information assets, successfully satisfy customer requirements, and grow the business at the same time.

Growing amounts of data and 24 X 7 processing demands have become huge issues, and when combined with regulatory compliance and cost controls, the impact is magnified.  As a result, many of the senior technology leaders that I meet are looking more carefully at their data availability strategies and asking a host of new questions. Some of these include:

  • Do I have the right approach for today’s challenges?
  • Is traditional disaster recovery able to support the requirements of a global organization?
  • Has our infrastructure become too complex and too costly to manage?
  • Do we have competing architectures for production, high availability and disaster recovery?

I have started this blog to begin a dialogue on these very issues and many more in the weeks and months ahead. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

First up, I was recently part of a video series on the topic of Availability and associated customer challenges.  The video below frames some of the questions I brought up earlier in this blog, and introduces several key takeaways.

 

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