Archive for September, 2011
Imagine you make cars, and 80 percent of your parts come from 20 percent of your suppliers. The parts are packed in containers and delivered to your manufacturing location on ships. Imagine there was a disaster, like an earthquake. Your biggest suppliers have great contingency plans that ensure a seamless flow of components, so you can make cars. But one of your suppliers, not one of the big 20%, was affected, and couldn’t ship parts for several months. Oh, well, it’s not that important. Just apply the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule, which is also known as the Pareto Principle or Juran’s Pareto Principle, doesn’t always work. The rule originated from an analysis of wealth distribution by Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who estimated that 80% of the wealth in his country was controlled by 20% of the people. Dr. Joseph Juran, who was a pioneer in quality management, applied Pareto’s analysis to quality management challenges, determining that 20% of the factors account for 80% of an outcome. In manufacturing, this might mean that 20% of your suppliers account for 80% of your output potential, so in supply chain disaster preparedness, companies logically place the bulk of their focus on the 20% of companies that supply 80% of the parts. Unfortunately, according to Patrick Brennan, in his article, Lessons Learned from the Japan Earthquake, published this summer in the Disaster Recovery Journal, Lesson 1 was “Don’t Apply the 80/20 Rule to Supply Chain Disaster Preparedness.” The 80/20 rule doesn’t work.
When the lack of availability of a $1 part prevents a company from making a $30,000 product, something needs to change.
The same error occurs when attempting to apply the 80/20 rule to the value of data. While it might be convenient to believe that 20% of your data accounts for 80% of the value, the loss of even a small amount of data, can have an enormous effect on the output of an analytical process or on the reputation of an organization. Imagine, for example, that a disaster destroys the last 3 minutes of data, and one of those pieces of data was an email that provided critical evidence to defend against a shareholder claim, or it was a buy order for fuel in a rising fuel market, or it was a change to a medication order for a critically ill patient.
You can’t always determine in advance, which data will be valuable. Therefore, it is best to provide complete protection to all data. If it’s important enough to keep, it’s important enough to protect. Fortunately, we make complete data protection both possible and affordable.
There’s a LinkedIn group called BCMIX – Business Continuity Management Information eXchange. There are over 7,000 members of this group, which I think shows just how important Business Continuity Management is in organizations today. Members can post questions to the community and get advice from other professionals who are struggling with the same issues. I’m paraphrasing here, but some of the recent topics were:
- Can you develop a profile for what types of individuals are able to manage disasters?
- How do you determine the RTO for critical systems and applications?
- What is the ROI from a Business Continuity Management Program?
I’m always interested in the calculation of an ROI on an intangible such as a BCM program, because the true value of it, like insurance, is not really calculable until after the event. I mean what is the ROI on a fire extinguisher?
There’s really no ROI on a fire extinguisher until you need it, which, hopefully is never. But, if you do have a fire, you want the fire extinguisher that works well with the type of fire you have. There are different types of fires and different types of fire extinguishers for each type of fire. There are also combination fire extinguishers that work with more than one type of fire. For those of you who want a quick tutorial on fires and fire extinguishers, here’s a helpful website: Fire Extinguisher: 101.
Once you’ve decided what risks you want to reduce, then you should get the best possible protection at the lowest possible cost. And that’s where the ROI comes in. Our Phoenix System is like a combination fire extinguisher, because we protect data through a wide variety of disasters: floods, fires, earthquakes, bombings, hurricanes, building collapse. But we have something else going for us. We actually lower the cost of data protection, by reducing data communications costs when replicating data over distance.
Maybe there’s no way to determine the return on a Business Continuity Management plan, but once you’ve made the decision to put a plan in place, you might as well have the best possible coverage at the lowest possible cost. To help you understand the savings that an Axxana Phoenix System investment can provide, we developed an ROI white paper. I hope you find it helpful.
If you are a regular reader of Chuck’s Blog, you probably read his comments on the VMAXe announcement. For those of you who don’t know, VMAXe is a smaller version of EMC’s high-end VMAX array, but with a couple of important differences. VMAXe doesn’t support IBM zSeries or iSeries servers and, as Chuck writes, “Astute readers will note the initial lack of SRDF support on the VMAXe.”
I would assume that EMC will ultimately offer SRDF for the VMAXe, but the initial choice to launch only with RecoverPoint for replication makes sense to us. There’s a huge installed base of CLARiiON and now VNX customers and a growing installed base of RecoverPoint customers. As customers continue to consolidate their storage, VMAXe is a logical platform. As more storage gets consolidated, concerns regarding availability and recoverability increase, which will drive additional demand for RecoverPoint.
Customers like to standardize, because it makes their operational life easier, and standardizing on data protection makes sense, because the last place you want to have added complexity is when things are going terribly wrong. RecoverPoint allows customers to standardize data protection approaches across VMAXe and VNX product lines. One of the reasons that we chose to partner with EMC generally, and RecoverPoint specifically, was their commitment to provide a standardized approach to data protection across platforms.