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Selecting The Best Disaster Recovery Product

When we set out to rate soup-to-nuts disaster-recovery systems, we started by polling our readers to determine the pain points driving IT managers tasked with data protection. An interesting--but predictable--finding in our e-mail poll came in response to a question about the hurdles confronting planners seeking to develop a data-protection capability. The No. 1 response: a lack of funds to build a strategy better than whatever was in place.

Disaster-recovery tools don't come cheap. One respondent said he considered the cost of most systems greater than the measurable benefit of protecting his data. Echoing this, another said the cost to scale her company's data-protection system in response to data proliferation was simply too great.

But other obstacles cited by readers had to do with vendors and their products: confusing vendor claims; difficulties in making products work with existing infrastructures; and a lack of facilities in which to test and vet solutions to determine which were the right fit.

To help sort through the options and their costs, we created an RFP (request for proposal) covering a data-protection setup for Darwin's Groceries, a hypothetical retail company.

Darwin's--whose corporate motto is "Driving mom & pop grocers to extinction, one community at a time"--has had its survival instincts heightened by a slew of sometimes-violent demonstrations at a number of its "SuperGigantic store" grand openings around the country. Senior management is concerned that adversaries may one day direct their ire against the company's IT infrastructure, and they want a data-protection system with teeth. (Our scenario is explained here.)

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