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Planning for ERP Disaster Recovery

A standard backup is created to ensure files can be restored in the event of missing or lost files

It is very likely that if something occurs that leaves you without your ERP system, it could be a disaster for your business. It is vital that you have a strong disaster recovery plan in place to deal with such a potential catastrophe, and minimize loss of time and money.

While disaster recovery is more commonly thought to involve flooding, fires, or earthquakes, your ERP system may be subjected to a catastrophe as a result of hardware failure, loss of electrical power, or any number of other technical problems. Unfortunately these potential problems tend to not garner any attention until they actually happen.

The best way to handle potential disaster is to have a solid plan in place. While it's probably impossible to avoid every single possible problem that might come up, there are many issues that can be avoided with just a little forethought (and money).

Disaster recovery preparation and planning consists of two things - preventative measures to avoid disaster and a recovery measure to take that will allow service to resume in the shortest time possible should a disaster occur. Preventative measures may include power protection through uninterruptable supplies of power and the provision of redundant electrical circuits.

A commonly used preventative measure is storing data via RAID arrays, but it is important to understand that not all levels of RAID provide sufficient protection. Commonly, RAID 10 (combination of RAID 1 and RAID 0) for quick recovery, and RAID 6 (RAID 5 plus an additional hard disk to prevent failure at a single point) where more than one disk is at risk of failure.

It is when things go seriously wrong that a recovery plan is in order. It is much more secure but does not come cheaply. Creating backup files on a regular basis is standard practice for any IT operation, but the backups required in the event of a disaster recovery are different.

A standard backup is created to ensure files can be restored in the event of missing or lost files. In the case of disaster recovery the backup is capable of complete restoration of your ERP software. A disaster recovery backup stores data in large blocks so that the system can be recovered and stored as quickly as possible. Data can be stored on site but it is highly advisable that additional copies be stored off-site, either by creating a backup to a remote site or by creating and storing copies on tape and then removing to a secondary location.

It is important that you understand the features of the service you are going to use if you plan to store your off-site backup on the cloud, as cloud services come in various forms that range from simple data storage services to those familiar with the requirements of disaster recovery. The latter may have features such as multiple redundant backups. Whichever service you choose you must ensure that the cloud storage system is capable of providing everything your company needs in the event of a disaster.

When dealing with a potential disaster recovery it is important that you test the backup system and recovery plan regularly to ensure that it works effectively. This should be done every few months.

More Stories By Aaron Louis

Aaron Louis is the head blogger of ERP Systems HQ. He holds a BS in Computer Information Systems and has worked as an ERP Consultant. Visit ERP Systems HQ for more information.

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