A year in storage

It's August, and almost a year since the attacks of Sept. 11.

There has been a great deal in the press about business recovery and disaster avoidance over the past 12 months but have businesses changed their IT processes? What did Sept. 11 teach us, with regards to our data and storage management?

The customers I speak with echo their need to provide for the event of a disaster. Their disasters cover a gamut of scenarios from physical disaster such as what occurred on Sept.

11 and what occurs sometimes annually in Florida during hurricane season to business disasters that have plagued Enron, WorldCom and now Qwest.

Lawyers are sending memos to IT execs telling them to preserve ALL data, accounting, e-mails, phone messages, etc., until they hear otherwise. While these scenarios seem quite different, they require the preservation and securing of vital corporate information assets for when they are required. And, by the way, when they are required, they are required immediately!

All of a sudden, disaster recovery has become BIG business.

Professional services organizations, both independent and within large companies like IBM and StorageTek, are popping up all over. This should not have been a secret; EMC has been milking that cash cow for years, although it has been calling it "business continuance" rather than disaster recovery.

Even with a heightened awareness of data preservation, EMA found in its recent study of 266 attendees of the past three NetWorld+Interop conferences for a study called "Storage Purchasing Plans," that a third of the respondents are still simply trying to reliably back up their data. Other companies are moving on to metropolitan area data duplication, which allows for fairly centralized data management as well as quick data recovery. Even fewer companies are moving to remote or even global data replication schemes due to cost and complexity.

Change is slow. Companies have changed how they think about preserving corporate data resources since Sept. 11 even if the infrastructure hasn't been deployed yet.

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