The Real Cost of Data Center Disaster Recovery Strategies

Michael Herrera

The cost to establish a viable data recovery strategy needs to be closely examined and itemized. It’s not as simple as finding an alternate site and paying for the hot site contract.  There are a number of costs to consider when implementing a data center recovery strategy.  Costs to consider are:

  1. Hot Site Contract – The annual cost to have a secured alternate data center at a 3rd party location such as Sungard, IBM, or HP in the event of a catastrophic loss of the primary data center.  This post does not consider building your own alternate site.
  2. Dedicated Equipment at Hot Site – The cost to purchase dedicated equipment to be housed at the 3rd party location or other site to support recovery efforts.  Examples of equipment include Active Directory/DNS servers, VPN appliances, Storage Area Network,  VMWARE servers, tape drives, etc.
  3. Maintenance Cost of Dedicated Equipment – The one time and annual cost to install and maintain the dedicated equipment to ensure its continued operation.
  4. Network Survivability – The one time and annual costs to have network survivability in the event of a catastrophic loss of the data center.
  5. Network Connectivity – The one time and annual costs to establish connectivity required to support the network survivability initiative.
  6. Data Replication – If a data replication initiative is used, the one time and annual costs to establish data replication between the primary and secondary sites.
  7. Labor / Expenses – The one time and annual costs to support the data center recovery strategy and maintain and exercise its operation internally and externally as needed.

These costs need to be totaled up and a business case developed for presentation to management.  Additionally, the cost to maintain the strategy will continue to increase over time as new hardware is added, storage space increases, cost of the alternate site contract increases, maintenance or licensing costs increase, more data is replicated over the network, etc.  Be prepared for an 8 to 15% increase annually or more if you are changing platforms, etc.

Last, you need to maintain the strategy through effective use of IT Change Management. The Change Management process must address changes affecting the disaster recovery strategy and implement the tactical actions to maintain its effectiveness.

About MHA: MHA Consulting, with its decade-long track record, is a proven leader in business continuity planning, disaster recovery planning, IT best practices and data center moves and relocations. Every day, MHA helps protect trillions of dollars of global-market assets and top companies around the world rely on MHA services for the continuity of their business. For more information on MHA, contact Michael Herrera at herrera at mha-it dot com.