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Truly A Time to Reflect

Truly A Time to Reflect

Written by Steve Gruber

I’m taking a departure from writing about technology, cloud, or services in order to address something that’s been weighing heavy on my heart.  A few weeks ago, on a Monday morning, our company and team suddenly without notice lost a friend and a co-worker.  Not just any co-worker, but a man who loved life, his family, and his job.  This man was Shell Clevenger; a guy with wit, personality, and a story for every occasion or subject, no matter what the discussion was.

Shell was a man who was truly bigger than life; a man who was dearly loved by his family; and a guy who always took care of things. In fact, Shell was the IT Help Desk for the entire family, and he always put people first.

Now, all I can think about is how Shell always wore a smile. He even kept a smile when he once told me that he had over 40 projects (this might be a stretch) on his plate. Regardless of the work load, you could always count on him telling you his plan for getting it all done.  It didn’t matter to Shell because he was proud of his job. He would work nights and weekends to get projects completed while still finding time to fix other things and execute DR tests.  It seemed that no matter how large or how small the tasks, Shell always rose to the occasion.

Then a few years back, there was our customer who declared a disaster during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Shell worked over 48 hours straight to get this customer’s system restored.  The irony here is that after being on the job at Corus360 for only 6 months, the system that Shell and the team recovered belonged to his former employer.  I’ve always said God has a sense of humor.

Speaking of God, I’m not sure why he took Shell home so soon and so suddenly, but I can only think that our loss here on earth is God’s gain in heaven. I’m sure Shell is helping the folks in heaven keeping things up and running, as well as keeping them entertained while wearing his bright orange UT shirt.

I can only hope that this writing provides you with some insight into what kind of person we and his family have lost.  Additionally, this short summary truly does not give justice or express just how difficult this loss has been to the Corus360 family.

In closing, I can only say… Big Cheers to Shell, a man with a smile, a man who was a great example to us all, a guy who would truly give you the shirt off his back if you needed one, an awesome family man, and most of all, a teammate that gave his very best every single day.

We miss you Shell…


The State (Noise) of Our DR Industry

The State (Noise) of Our DR Industry

Written by Steve Gruber

Throughout my 25 years in the Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery industry, I have never heard so much noise.  Talk about an information overload.  It seems that in the recent past, it was much easier to steer customers toward strategies and solutions that met their backup and recovery needs at an acceptable price tag.

Now, today – between the cloud buzz, software solutions, and various appliances being served up – the noise and confusion is heavily compounded.  Couple these offerings with the constant parade of disruptive technologies, and it’s enough to cause a headache.

Based on my experience, it’s time to revert back to the basics, especially for those organizations that have not yet begun to idealize or test their recovery strategy.  Today, many of our largest customers that perform their DR tests with us are still leveraging simple tape-based backup and recovery solutions.  Therefore, tape is not dead and, on the contrary, is very much alive.

Some of our customers have begun exploring other solutions; including cloud-based offerings and a hybrid approach to backup and recovery.  Others have jumped fully into the cloud, only to somewhat retreat when 1) they are hit with heavy data egress charges for pulling back their data, or 2) they have experienced the complexity of full-system restores in the cloud.

Realistically, there is no perfect solution for every computing platform you support today. Instead, there are many companies trying to convince you that they have perfected the latest and greatest solution to take care of your backup and recovery needs.

My advice – put your toe in the water with RES-Q™ Services and, based on our firsthand experience assisting clients with their DR testing, let us provide you with the opportunity to see firsthand, with no obligation, what technology could be the right choice for you.

 


What Happened to Service?

What Happened to Service?

Written by Steve Gruber 

When was the last time you truly received excellent service?  I’m referring to the type of service that made you stand up and actually take notice of what the word excellence really means.

We live in a world where, I believe, mediocre service has become the norm.  Whether it’s the services you receive at a restaurant, box office, or from your managed service provider, it seems that service is on the decline, with maybe a few exceptions.

A lot of the time, what we see today as a Disaster Recovery Service provider is many customers telling us horror stories about the level of service they have been receiving from their current service providers.

The stories are endless about their experiences, especially around a lack of support and service when they conduct their DR tests.  Imagine if those same customers facing these service issues had to actually declare a disaster; what should they expect? What a Disaster Recovery team needs the most, in order to provide and exceed for a client, is to bolster its service delivery teams and have their feet on the ground, ready to take action.

My point is: what happened to the old “baker’s dozen’ philosophy to service where a customer orders 12 but gets 13 delivered, where the customer is king?  Or where you can say we experienced “white glove service.”

The service provider business leaders of today must continually instill the sense of value with their services delivery teams because keeping customers is just as important, and maybe even more important, than obtaining new customers.

The team I work with daily focuses on the fact that we must “out service our competition,” which we pride ourselves in being extremely good at.

So, my advice to all – regardless of what kind of business you operate, manage, or the job you perform – is to strive for excellence and be different to the point where people or the customers you serve take notice and bring back the tradition of the “baker’s dozen.”

 


Hurricane Harvey and #HoustonStrong

Hurricane Harvey and #HoustonStrong

The media will bring you the facts. Houston has been hit by one of the largest storms of the century. Despite this catastrophe, Houstonians have come together demonstrating compassion for their neighbors in need.

The community at large has come together like never before. #HoustonStrong has begun to trend on Twitter, offering up numerous examples through pictures and videos of what it means to be a strong Houstonian. The hashtag was made in honor of the city of Houston’s collective birthday. This hashtag highlights the resilient spirit of the city and its citizens throughout the many years of its existence. People from all over Houston and beyond are volunteering to help in the relief of victims caught in the path of the storm.

Multiple posts have shown evidence of people from around Texas bringing their boats to the Houston area to assist in amateur search and rescue operations. Other posts show more personal stories, one being of a Houston officer purchasing emergency supplies and food for victims of the tremendous flooding (this might be a good spot to put a link to the source). The Cowboys and Texans have officially canceled their Thursday preseason game so players can return to Houston to further help their community.

While official government funding for the relief effort is still being debated, others have taken up the mantel in an unprecedented way. Both MLB Texas teams, the Astros and the Rangers, have pledged $4 million and $1 million, respectively, in showing their support for Houston during this difficult time.
in addition to organizations and citizens, celebrities have also contributed to humanitarian efforts with their money and time. Kim Kardashian West, for example, has donated $500,000 to the relief of Houstonians. Despite how you may personally feel about certain celebrities, their contribution and their compassion for those in need have made a difference for the people in Texas.

The hashtag isn’t exclusively for content showing humans helping humans; it also includes anything that inspires hope for the people affected by the storm. The spread of positive news has inspired those in Texas and around the nation of the hope that still lingers on the horizon. Clear skies have opened up over Houston as the storm has started to migrate to southwestern Louisiana, and the sun is shining down on a different Houston, a damaged but still standing one.

Through this crisis, we have seen the resilient spirit of the American people, the unquestionable durability that America is known for. Houston is a shining example of how different people can come together and help one another. We now have confirmation that everything is indeed bigger in Texas, even their hearts.


Resiliency

Resiliency

According to Webster, resiliency is:

1. the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2. an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

I think that the word has more depth to it which can best be seen by looking at some examples that history provides us with.

To me, resiliency is defined as General Washington and his exhausted men, many of which didn’t even have shoes, dealing with brutal winters and endless setbacks and still managing to defeat the British in the decisive battle at Yorktown to win the Revolutionary War. Washington and his men’s’ resiliency won that war.

Resiliency is the US getting surprised at Pearl Harbor, losing countless lives and much of our naval force and then entering the war and enduring the battles throughout the Pacific (like we witnessed in the recent movie Hacksaw Ridge, which portrayed Desmond Doss’ unthinkable heroism in another display of resiliency). Resiliency can be seen in battles like D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, which featured intense and committed leaders like General Patton and General MacArthur, who famously said “I will return” and did so. From leaders to POWs to frontline soldiers, our military heroes are those who showed and continue to show the world what the word resiliency truly means.

Hopefully, none of us are forced to display resiliency in one of those situations, but many of us hear it often regarding our businesses. How resilient are you and your organization? How grounded and committed are you to staying steadfast and how prepared are you to keep yourself and the organization that employs you operational amid an unplanned event or interruption?

Most people and organizations set themselves up to be reactive instead of resilient, which can be a recipe for disaster. Reaction is what you do after the fact. Resiliency is your already established ability to adjust and recover. We become resilient by implementing changes to move ourselves and our organizations from being reactive to being resilient.

If you take a minute to ponder what actions you can personally take to be more resilient in your life, your family, or your business, then I believe that my blog was worth reading. If you don’t, then you just received a history refresher.

If you think resiliency in all you do and make it part of who you are, your accomplishments can be as endless as the heroes mentioned above. Those people didn’t wait until disaster hit them to react, they were prepared to adjust to the changes they faced and recovered.


Zerto or Veeam?

Zerto or Veeam?

As a director working in the field of disaster recovery, I often get asked which backup and replication software is better: Zerto or Veeam.

The short answer is that I highly recommend both. Each has their own unique qualities. Both are consumer friendly, and most people would have to agree that they are competitive in the market. When considering which is best for your business, it’s important to take a hard look at what your needs are to decide the best fit. Below is a quick review of each technology and a comparison of their features.

Round 1 – Veeam

Veeam was created in 2006 with a strong focus on virtual machine data backup and replication. Veeam changed the backup and recovery market with their virtual machine first approach.  While many legacy backup products were trying to retrofit their existing technology to support VMs, Veeam focused solely on them until 2016, when they released an agent to protect physical systems to augment their software.

Veeam uses VM snapshot technology in combination with changed block tracking (CBT) to create a replica of a virtual machine. While the snapshot is being taken, a redo file is created, and all changes made during the replication process are written into this file. Once the replication job is finished, the redo file is merged with the snapshot into a live disk file. The next time the replication job is started, only changes made since the last job will be copied to the replica virtual machine.

Veeam also utilizes backup protection that is optimized to allow for long term data retention, and one of Veeam’s key features is that it performs both backups and replications.

Round 2 – Zerto

In 2009, Zerto was founded and built to provide high availability protection to virtual machines. Zerto’s focus is on instant data recovery, and that has helped them become an industry leader in the field of disaster recovery. Another feature that sets Zerto apart from legacy backup products is simplified user interaction. Zerto, like Veeam, integrates painlessly into both Hyper-V and VMware environments.

Zerto doesn’t use snapshot technology like Veeam. Instead, Zerto deploys small virtual machines on its physical hosts. These Zerto VMs capture the data as it is written to the host and then send a copy of that data to the replication site. This process results in near-synchronous replication, since the data is sent to the DR site at the same time it is written to the production disk array. This replication process is continuous, so the delay between writing data to the host machine and sending it offsite is minimal.

Round 3 – The difference

The main difference between Zerto and Veeam is their recovery point objectives (RPOs). Zerto has a tighter RPO than Veeam due to the method it uses to capture data. However, Veeam has the advantage of being able to more efficiently capture and store data for long-term retention needs. There is also a significant pricing difference, with Veeam being cheaper than Zerto. Both solutions provide best-in-class solutions designed for the recovery of virtual infrastructures in the event of a disaster.

I have worked with many customers who utilize both products in order to meet their high availability needs while also achieving reliable long-term data retention. The recovery time objectives (RTOs) for both solutions are similar; when a VM is replicated it only takes minutes to boot the VM in either case. However, the RPO is a big difference, as Zerto provides in seconds what Veeam often needs a minimum of 15 minutes to accomplish (depending on data links and change rates). Most companies running Veeam replicate their data once a day, while Zerto users continuously replicate theirs.

Conclusion

Both solutions are leaders in the disaster recovery market today, but which one is right for your business depends on your unique requirements. If you already invested in Veeam for backup and your company has low RPO requirements, then Veeam is a nearly free option to use for replication. If you are looking for the fastest RPO on the market for your Virtual Systems, then Zerto is probably the product for you.

To conclude my analysis, there is no right or wrong solution. Both solutions are winners, and what is right for your business truly depends on your RTO/RPO requirements. For some users, the best choice is to use BOTH for added reliability.

RES-Q™ Services strives every day to out-service our competition, while possessing the unique ability to think outside the traditional DR box with relevant, cost-effective solutions.

 

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RES-Q™ Services
130 Technology Parkway
Norcross, GA 30092

Main: 678-812-0136
Email: info@resqdr.com