By Ron Grattopp ronaldg-001_thumb2…..Not long ago (November actually) I gave a shout out to Cindy Bates’ blog about DR (disaster recovery).  A couple of interesting factoids that were included in the DR e-guide her post highlighted were that >40% of the SMB respondents believed IT downtime could damage staff morale (as worker productivity goes down), and >50% believed it could damage a company’s reputation.  Of course IT downtime in SMB is much more common than disasters, and downtime doesn’t always require a DR solution to get a business back online but certainly any business would like to mitigate either of those in minimum time and with minimum data loss.  On a related note, Acronis, the backup company, recently completed their annual study, known as the Acronis Global Disaster Recovery Index (GRDI), which audited 18 countries and nearly 6,000 IT personnel.  The following findings, related to DR, caught my attention in this report:

  • Of SMBs in the U.S., only slightly more than 50% feel confident in the strategies they have in place, thus almost 50% still fear substantial downtime in the event of a disaster.

  • According to the data, SMBs are still losing an average of over 2 days and $380k a year due to IT downtime (lost productivity).

  • The survey indicated almost two-thirds of U.S. respondents found that the biggest contributor to downtime is human error.

  • The survey results also showed over three-quarters of U.S. respondents said the best way to improve backup and disaster recovery would be to have an integrated system that covered physical, virtual and cloud data assets.  Yet, over half (53 percent) still use separate backup solutions for their physical and virtual environments, and some use up to 5 different backup solutions to cover their DR needs.

  • Interestingly, only 24 percent of U.S. respondents strongly feel that their staff is qualified to execute backup and disaster recovery operations, yet the typical SMB now creates almost 40TB of fresh data each year.

So what I want to do here is expand the discussion that you should be having with your customer around DR.   DR should be something every SMB IT shop addresses, but, as was alluded to above, downtime can also have a significant negative impact on the business even absent a disaster.  This is why I would encourage you to expand the necessary DR discussion to address the downtime issue as well and, when you do that, you can upsell from the backup solution that would normally address the DR requirement to a full-up Management solution that can address it all.  Moreover, as organizations around the world continue to struggle with getting some of the basics right, they are now being presented with three different platforms for their disaster recovery strategies: physical, virtual, and cloud, each with its own unique challenges.  Of course, unlike any other vendor, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to provide just that, especially with our new System Center 2012 product (currently in RC status, due to release in first half of 2012).

Now, with System Center 2012, we can provide a more integrated management solution than ever, for managing IT environments, and thus providing the best possible HA/DR across traditional datacenters, private and public clouds, client computers, and devices.  I believe we already had the best integration story across the spectrum of management technologies which includes: operations management, configuration management, virtualization management, and backup management.  But whereas before, these were all separate products with different release schedules, in System Center 2012 these are now “components” of one product.  Much simpler, particularly if you look at management holistically (which is what I’m encouraging you to do here Smile).  Of course, if you’ve previously focused your IT management on a physical datacenter environment and/or just a single element above (e.g. operations management and/or DR), then this may not seem like much of a simplification to you, and we understand that not everyone will see all the value of this solution strategy shift. Nevertheless, Microsoft wants and needs to provide the best tools for insuring that you can provide that robust and necessary uptime and DR solution to your customers, especially for the Microsoft workloads that many of them rely on to support their business, and System Center 2012 is the next big step in doing just that.  I really hope you investigate the information in the link above (as well as the one below) – this a major change in our management solution story which you need to know about.

Here’s the link to the System Center 2012 on MPN Portal for additional partner-focused information and resources (notice it’s under Cloud Solutions now instead of Servers).