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Shrink your RTOs and RPOs

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) are two of the most important aspects of a data recovery plan.

A Recovery Point Objective (RPO) determines how much data the business is willing to lose in the event of a failure. A Recovery Time Objective (RTO) determines how much time the business deems acceptable to wait for the recovery process to complete.

Even though these parameters are defined and agreed on together with the business, IT admins are constantly striving to reduce their RTOs and RPOs through technology and process. The shorter the RTOs and RPOs, the less downtime the organization will have to endure, resulting in less productivity loss, less costs incurred and reduced risk of reputational impact. Here are three tips to help shrink your RTOs and RPOs.

1. Increase backup frequency
An immediate gain to reduce your RTOs and RPOs is to increase the frequency of backups. By doing this, you lower your RPO because you have more snapshots of your critical data. Similarly, you lower your RTO because having more recent backups will reduce the time it takes to recover.

2. Use ‘changed block recovery’ solutions
The concept of changed block technology is similar to incremental backups. Only the blocks of data that have changed since the last full backup or, in the case of virtual machines (VMs), those blocks needed to restore the VM to a given point in time are backed up.
Whether for virtual or physical backups, if you use a solution that constantly monitors for changes to data blocks then as soon as the backup kicks in, all the pre-processing has already been done. This means your overall backup time is reduced.

3. Replicate, replicate, replicate!
Having a secondary copy of a live data set that you can switch to instantly in the event of a failure will help lower your RTOs. If you keep a secondary server off-site, your RTO will be limited to the time it takes to failover from one server to another. The frequency of the replication will determine your RPO – the more often you replicate, the lower the RPO.

Conclusion
With all this in mind, it is clear that the lower your RTOs and RPOs need to be, the more complex and more expensive your infrastructure and data protection strategy will be. This is where your choice of backup solution becomes vitally important. Choose well and not only will you help to reduce your RTOs and RPOs but also your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Larry Bates is the Chief Technology Officer and a Founding Partner of vitalEsafe