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System Recovery—Breaking through the Dissimilar Hardware Restore Challenge

Manual recovery is a multi-step process following a layered approach that is meant to restore the system as closely as possible to its pre-failure state (see figure 2). If cold images have been captured, the most recent one can be recovered as a starting point-but all changes since the last image capture must still be accounted for manually.

Duplicate hardware for disaster recovery To hedge against hardware failure and still allow for automated system recovery, many organizations purchase duplicate hardware for the most critical computer systems. Imagine working under a recovery-time objective (RTO) that dictates full site recovery at an alternate site within a week, three days, or even faster. While this is not a universal condition, dissimilar hardware recovery is a concern for every administrator. As the RTO becomes more and more compressed, the problem of dissimilar hardware is compounded, and the cost is increased. Maintaining duplicate hardware for an entire site is so cost- prohibitive that only the most critical (and smallest percentage) of organizations can justify it.

When duplicate hardware is purchased, many system vendors cannot guarantee that even the same model will have the same components from one batch to the next. It is common for a manufacturer to put in a new storage controller or other components as updated versions become available. This practice has significant implications for corporate purchasing policies, because the only way to ensure that all of a company's computer systems have the same hardware components is to purchase all of them at once.

Hardware-Independent Restore—A Critical Component of System Recovery As stated previously, restoration through layered reinstallation is a time-consuming process. Reinstallation of a typical Microsoft® Small Business Server with a small database application would take more than four hours (under constant vigilance and barring any mechanical setbacks). With Symantec Backup ExecTM System Recovery, the automatic process is just a couple of clicks away and can take 30 minutes or less. Backup Exec System Recovery protects against business


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