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Planning for the Unexpected

In Fenwick’s own business continuity planning, we consider a range of scenarios involving the loss of access to our main office, and we have put processes in place to ensure that our systems and data are securely replicated offsite. While we feel we can easily cope with an outage of a few days without invoking the recovery plan, not all firms are so lucky, and an outage of even a few hours to their core NAV ERP system could severely impact their revenue and reputation.

The problem with relying on traditional system backups, stored in a secure off-site location, is that it can still leave firms exposed to a lengthy outage while backups are recovered, systems rebuilt and data restored. In some situations, it could take days before a working system is available again, with the likelihood of some data being lost forever. One viable alternative, that can be easily configured, at little cost, is SQL transaction log shipping between the main system and a ‘warm’ standby system located in a branch office. In the case of an outage to the main system, this warm standby can be made live within a few minutes, providing an almost seamless transition for the staff.

Microsoft SQL licensing terms allow for a warm standby server to be installed at no extra cost, although you will still need the Windows server license itself. Other than that, the only ongoing costs are the data traffic charges for transferring the SQL transaction log files.

Even if you never need it, for the cost of single Windows server license it’s pretty cheap insurance.

Photo: Sebastian Constanzo

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