Managed IT Continuity Services

Background / Service Case and Overview:

The need for backups is one that none of us doubt - the data used by a business is the one thing that can't be replaced if you have a major failure / disaster / hack / fire etc. and we all know the stats about the large percentage of businesses that end up going out of business after a major incident. Thus most companies have good and mature backup processes in place.

However the process of backup is one only one part of the jigsaw. Whichever process you use to backup your information and systems, it is important to be able to restore these in a timely manner. This is where continuity comes in and it is a matter of business process as much as technology.

So that we help keep client systems running in the face of adversity, Onega have developed our Managed IT Continuity Service which allows for all or key servers to be replicated to the cloud and run live in case of core systems failures with fast (potentially just minutes) activation from disaster to recovery in place. This is a core part of organisational continuity planning.

Continuity Service Overview:

Our Managed Continuity Services offering includes local backup and secure offsite backup elements bundled into one solution. On each server that is core to business and IT operations, we configure backup to a local storage appliance which doubles as a backup management server and also allows for fast local recovery and can even mount the backed up servers as live running virtual machines. The local backups are also replicated up to the cloud for continuity and secure offsite availability.

The Onega Solution:

The system that we use for managed continuity is mature and provided in conjunction with trusted partner companies as technology providers. All data is securely encrypted in transit and at rest. Offsite backups are maintained in ISO27001 certified data centres.

Establishment:

The initial task is to select which servers need to be backed up and made available for continuity purposes. These are then setup for an initial backup schedule to local storage, and then streaming offsite for continuity in the cloud. We set the schedules for backups locally and offsite inline with your business needs and technical configurations (ie if your current Internet connection would be affected by offsite replication during the day then we can configure that to run overnight only).

The offsite cloud backups are then checked and we can make sure that these 'spin up' successfully in the cloud for use if and as required. There are also initial tasks to make sure that performance is good on the offsite cloud servers when running and to configure items like startup order if there are dependencies between one server and another (ie Domain Controllers would be started up first, then database and application servers). We can also configure VPN tunnels site to site if appropriate from a corporate firewall and can also setup end user desktop VPN connections so that laptops are able to connect directly to the continuity / DR environment.

Backup Frequency:

We can set local backups for key servers to be as frequent as business and technical factors allow for and offsite replication can be set to match this or to run to a custom schedule if required. This is documented as part of service establishment.

Monitoring and Maintenance:

Once the service is live, we monitor success of backups and schedule backup consolidation. We have the ability to test backup success daily and to verify that a server is recoverable with a live boot of a virtual machine in the recovery environment for complete peace of mind that backups are tested thoroughly. In case of any backup failures / alerts we will work with you / your IT team to assist in resolving any issue that are preventing backups from running to the best of our ability.

BCP Drills:

Having server replication and cloud recovery servers is one thing, but having this as a tested and drilled process is another. We believe that server continuity should be tested regularly with staff involvement on a regular basis; just as you would for fire drills. This is an iterative process and makes sure that in case of a real disaster staff know what to do. Drills allow for issues that arise to be ironed out during the test process (one example might be software with IP locked licences might not run first time in a BCP environment) and refined into slick (as possible) continuity events whether ongoing testing or live situations.

Pricing:

The service is priced in the following tiers:

1 Server / 1TB of storage - Setup £1,150 / Ongoing Investment £250 per Month ex VAT
2 Servers / 2TB of storage - Setup £1,450 / Ongoing Investment £500 per Month ex VAT
3-5 Servers / 5TB of storage - Setup £1,650 / Ongoing Investment  £1,000 per Month ex VAT
6-10 Servers / 10TB of storage - Setup £1,950 / Ongoing Investment  £2,000 per Month ex VAT
11-20 Servers / 20TB of storage - Setup £2,700 / Ongoing Investment £3,500 per Month ex VAT

NB- the term 'Server' can apply equally to any supported Virtual Machine or physical server Operating System.

Options:

Additional Storage Capacity - If you need more than the allowance of 1TB per server then additional storage capacity can be added. NB Quota is shared across servers so if you have a couple of big file / data servers and a couple of smaller application servers, then these typically balance out so that you do not need any extra storage.
Additional Recovery Points - By default three daily and two weekly backups are maintained in the offsite cloud environment. Additional Recovery roints are available beyond this - ie we can add more daily / weekly / monthly backups as required in line with business needs.
Static IP Address - If you need a static IP Address to connect to the recover environment with a preconfigured IPSEC VPN connection then this is available at £20 per month for provision.

Setup costs above include:

  • Service Provisioning 
  • Design of Backup Rotations
  • Installation and configuration of Server Backup Agents.
  • Implementation of rotation schedules and triggering initial backups.
  • Provision of local backup management and streaming server which is deployed to site. 
  • Implementation of offsite replication schedule
  • Configuration of Cloud VMs to ensure startup order correct and appropriate resource levels assigned to VMs so that servers boot and run with good performance
  • Configuration of VPN connections site to site and for remote user access to BCP environment. 
  • Staff communication on BCP measures in place and how to access in case of emergency.

Prerequisites:

In order to deploy the Managed Continuity Service, you have to have an internet connection with sufficient bandwidth and thus capable of streaming offsite the backups

Service Limits:

In case of a disaster and needing to run off the backup cloud servers, these can normally be run for up to six weeks as part of the service. This is to prevent excess use as the service is designed for recovery contingency and not as a permanent hosting solution. Ie this allows for plenty of time for new servers to be setup to replace failed servers at a new office etc. or else we have to.

NB - The Server Cloud Continuity Service is likely to be a core part of wider Business Continuity Planning.