IBM offers alternate migration database
Telnet opens 3000s with a key cut long ago

Timely recovery can be no mean feat

By Birket Foster

MTTRO is not just an acronym. For years people have thrown around the acronym MTBF -- mean time between failures. This is how long before things fail, which is not really what people need to know. Once things have failed the challenge is to get them back online. In your personal life it could be an appliance like a washer or dryer or a furnace or air conditioning unit -- all of these are readily repaired. There are some interconnections that need to be considered, but the people in the business know all about the choices that are available. They can have a new device hooked up in hours.

Do you have a plan for getting things back online if your HP computer system fails? What is the impact on the organization? What does it cost your organization to have the computer system unavailable? What is the plan to get things back on line? You want to know long will it take, and what the costs will be for your organization while you get things back up and running.

MTTRO stands for Mean Time to Recovery of Operation. It deals with how long it would take to have your operations back online. Knowing the best case and worst case recovery times from different kinds of disasters will help put bounds around the how much will it cost your company to be down.

As an example, if your computer system fails on a Friday night before the backup is complete, you must know the steps to diagnose the problem -- and then there's a plan for recovery from different kinds of failure. How will you know what data is impacted? In the worst case maybe it's just this week's, or just today's transactions. What will it take to know what is missing and how will you recover the data -- can it be re-keyed? Was it from a website and it's gone? You'll want to log those website transactions so you can recover.

In a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Plan, the details of plans from different kinds of failures should be spelled out. This will make things easier than building a recovery plan on the fly.

Once you have the general disaster (or failure) and subsequent recovery scenarios scoped out, you can look at the costs of each scenario, the business processes impacted, and decide if there are steps to take to mitigate the risks. This makes the recovery plan a driver for business decisions, regarding investment to mitigate risk. It becomes a cost vs. benefit item

Take a look at your plans and make sure they have been updated for the latest methods of doing business. A backhoe severing a fiber optic cable can cause service outages that last for days. With everything interconnected this could impact VOIP telephony, web interfaces to applications, IT processes for inter-company transactions and more. Understand how the different stakeholders will be impacted: customers, employees, suppliers, and business partners.

If you know what might happen, you can plan the recovery. That will make it less expensive because your team will have a plan to follow with a known cost -- and you can calculate the cost of MTTRO.

Birket Foster is founder and CEO of MB Foster, an HP 3000 Platinum Migration partner and provider of the UDA line of connectivity software.