puts the ‘Business’
in Business Continuity
By STACY HAYES
The “old way” of enabling business continuity meant costly hardware investments, unreliable monitoring capabilities, uncontrolled and hard to manage fees, and most importantly – slow recovery times. The new managed services approach eliminates these
concerns by providing an on demand business continuity solution
that meets the needs of the enterprise, has a cost structure that is
in line with actual usage and, most importantly, is drillable on
a regular basis without providing dramatic disruption and cost
to the business. The newest virtualization capabilities are at the
heart of these advances and are making practical business continuity available across the entire spectrum of company sizes.
Managed services deliver a win-win for service partners in this
area with enhanced revenue opportunities that lock in a longer
term customer. In addition, this approach builds a more linked
channel because it is easily repeatable. As Forester Research
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points out, “managed services [has] a one-to-many, standardized
service delivery model with a relatively small labor component
and offers examples of how to articulate the value of these offerings.” For the highly in demand business continuity market, this
approach brings an innovative new revenue model to the channel.
To appreciate how this model works, it’s helpful to first compare it with the old model; with an understanding of the role that
virtualization plays today. Next, looking at it through the customer’s eyes, it’s easy to see why it makes sense and why it works.
Finally, the channel can provide insight into how managed services are replacing outdated “tool” driven revenue streams with
Out with the Old and in with the New
Traditional business continuity can best be likened to having
to rapidly move your family from your home and into a hotel
room. You’ve left an environment with which you were familiar
and had slowly modified over time to specifically fit your needs.
Your new location is a standard configuration of someone else’s
design. It’s a scaled back version of your former residence and
nothing is familiar; you are forced to adapt and redesign your patterns of living. Beyond this inconvenience, no matter how long
you had to leave your former residence or how much foresight
you had into the disruption and prepared for it; you’ve inevitably forgotten something, and it’s most likely that it’s not just one
Today, hosting and virtualization have allowed you to leave
your home without really leaving. In other words, you can have
a parallel universe right across town or across the country with
as much or as little of the comforts of your primary home that
your budget will allow. Virtualization allows the enterprise to
capture an image of a primary server. During recovery, most of
the traditional compatibility problems associated with getting the
new hardware and operating system platform to play nicely with
a fresh application installation and subsequent data restore are
eliminated. By systematically capturing images and storing them
on standby virtual servers, all the moving parts and their relationships are preserved.
According to Gartner Research, “Virtualization ... allows for
planned downtime, with migration of virtual machines from one
server box to another. Along with planned downtime, the migration of virtual machines from one server to another also makes
disaster recovery more affordable for organizations.”
Now that the recovery problem has been solved the remaining
challenge is image transport and hosting. Here’s where the managed service industry shines. The basic building blocks of this
industry are economies of scale. Built correctly, each new unit of
measure brought online in a managed environment should cost
incrementally less that the unit immediately preceding it. In other
words, growth produces ever increasing downward pressure on
the cost of delivery of services.
In this environment the server image transport, infrastructure
preparation and hosting and professional services are addressed.
It is here that the entire solution “comes together.” The resultant
expertise that naturally resides within the service provider means
that knowledgeable help is on hand around the clock, which is