IBM J. Res. Dev

Toward transforming business continuity services

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Typical businesses have limited expertise in handling disasters; thus, it makes business sense to use external business continuity services. Existing practice is for the business to determine its critical business processes, perform a risk assessment, mitigate as many of these risks as possible, define a continuity plan, and then periodically test this plan at a local IT (information technology) or work-area recovery site. This practice, however, typically imposes limitations as discussed in this paper. We offer enhancements to mitigate these limitations, including the close interlock between the customer and service provider's processes, a shared representation of a customer's environment, and a recovery infrastructure integrating both automation and virtualization. We capture the customer's IT inventory as a recovery configuration and analyze the requirements and available recovery resources to optimize the test schedule of the recovery center and automatically map recovery requirements to resources. We orchestrate recovery deployment through automation. Based on the recovery configuration, we can also determine to what degree the customer can recover within a virtual environment and automatically map the customer to this environment, thereby accruing the benefits of virtualization. These capabilities enhance the client's recovery experience and provide increased flexibility and resource utilization in the recovery data centers. © 2009 IBM.