Mission-Critical vs. Business-Critical: All Applications Are Not Created Equal

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Increase your ROI by developing a disaster recovery plan that is divided into different recovery tiers to protect mission-critical, business-critical, and noncritical applications at the level they require.

When creating a disaster recovery (DR) plan for your IT environment, the unfortunate truth is that you will have to compromise on some metrics. Most organizations just don’t have the resources to protect all workloads at the highest availability when met with a disaster. This is particularly true of enterprises, given their higher quantity of mission-critical and business-critical production workloads.

Protecting workloads differently, based on their criticality level, achieves higher cost benefits while compromising on other parameters.  Determining workload criticality is subjective to every business, and can depend on management goals, SLAs, government regulations, and other factors.

Find out which workloads are most likely to be protected by a disaster recovery solution in our 2018 Disaster Recovery Survey Report.

Forrester, one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world, analyzes and advises companies on how to construct and update their DR plans. Forrester’s recent Disaster Recovery Preparedness analysis reported that companies currently protect their applications and data roughly equally between three main criticality tiers: mission-critical, business-critical, and noncritical.

A mission-critical application or database affects an organization’s ability to function at the most basic level. If it goes down, the business will experience complete shut-down of operations. For example, when Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), a leading global cargo shipping company, created their DR strategy, they determined their IBM WebSphere MQ server to be mission-critical. Downtime for this message queuing server, which performs critical communications with U.S. Customs, would bring their business to a halt and likely also lead to fines from U.S. Customs. As a result, near-zero recovery objectives for this server had to be met as part of WFS’s DR plan.

A business-critical application, as compared to a mission-critical application, is generally considered to be important to the success of a business, but can be down for several hours without irreparably harming daily operations, company reputation, or direct revenue. An example of this could be a company’s CRM software solution, if it determines that customer relations or access to reports can be managed offline until the downtime is resolved, and data lost during an outage can be entered again.

Noncritical applications can be unavailable for several days without significant damage to a company’s operations. An example of this might be HR software for a company without significant employee turnover or with other ways to manage HR tasks until the data is retrieved.

How can determining criticality tiers affect your DR strategy?

Separating workloads into different criticality tiers makes it easier to analyze the DR metrics each application requires. In most cases, there will be a trade-off between cost and performance. The most common metrics regarding this trade-off scale include:

  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) This is the time period during which data is lost during downtime. All data up to the moment of disaster can be recovered by DR, while anything between the disaster and the RPO will be lost. For mission-critical applications, RPO must be near-zero. This requires a disaster recovery solution that can perform real-time, continuous data replication. Business-critical and non-critical applications might be able to sustain slightly longer RPOs.
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) This is the time period once disaster strikes that a business can withstand an outage. For mission-critical applications, RTO must also be near-zero, and can be longer for business-critical and non-critical applications.
  • Storage Type Choice of storage type affects performance and availability, with more expensive storage offering fewer bottlenecks.
  • Cost If cost was not an issue, it would not be necessary to evaluate performance trade-offs. However, most organizations will need to find ways to achieve the most cost-effective option for each criticality tier, while maintaining the necessary resilience for each application.

CloudEndure has recently launched a comprehensive IT Resilience Suite for the Hybrid Cloud solution that enables customers to build the most cost-effective DR solution for all workloads, based on their criticality level. Tier 1 and Tier 2 Disaster Recovery are for mission-critical and business-critical workloads, and Continuous Backup is suitable for noncritical workloads.

Contact CloudEndure for more information about how multi-tier IT Resilience solutions can protect your hybrid IT landscape while cutting costs and increasing your bottom line.

2018 DR Survey Report