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James Luetkehoelter

Nearly any SQL topic presented at times in a slightly eclectic manner.

Editorial: Distributed Data and Disaster Recovery

I think we have a very, very large problem approaching in the IT industry.

As data systems and business become more and more integrated, the concept of disaster recovery will become very, very complicated. SQL Server alone provides a means of direct integration with internal and external business partners using the Service Broker and Native Webservices. Biztalk and Windows Workflow provide a means for facilitating long-running transactions between multiple, operational data sources. With all of this separation of data into disperate systems, the question comes to my mind: Who is responsible for overall disaster recovery?

Certainly within my own company (or maybe my division of my company within a global organization) I approach disaster recovery planning to respond to and protect against a variety of issues. But what about those systems that mine interacts with? What if they fail? If part of my business process involves sending an order request for parts to a business partner via a webservice call, what happens if that business partner's system is down? What do I tell my customers (or my boss)? Who is really responsible? The immediate answer seems to be that the business partner is, but if their failure causes a failure in your business process, I really think you've dropped the ball along the way as well.

Having recently encountered a disaster situation like this, the practical result was hasty and vigorous finger pointing to assign blame. That doesn't help with disaster recovery. The goal should not be to assign blame - it should be to get business operations back online, then assess where the disaster occurred and what can be done to prevent it in the future (or minimize the impact).

If we, as database professionals, are going to integrate our data systems with others over which we have no direct control, I think we have an obligation to bring disaster recovery to the table at the time of integration. Knowing the capabilities of the business partner, or the impact that may occur should their system fail, IS part of our job.

Distrubed disaster recovery is going to be an issue. Just wait if you haven't encountered it - you will. Start thinking about it now. Trust me.

Published Tuesday, February 12, 2008 12:41 PM by James Luetkehoelter
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About James Luetkehoelter

I am passionate about what I do - which is DBA, development, IT and IT business consulting. If you don't know me, haven't met me or have never heard me speak, I'm a little on the eccentric side. One attendee recently described me as being "over the top". Yup, that about says it - because I only speak on topics that I'm passionate about.
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