One thing we all really like to hear about is how we can do more with less. This is especially the case when we have valuable assets that are underutilized or potentially even idle. This is “low hanging fruit” for executives to repurpose and achieve efficiencies for the organization.
In this regard, there was a nifty little article in Federal Computer Week, 15 Jun 2009, called “Double-duty COOP” about how we can take continuity of operations (COOP) failover facilities and use them for much more than just backup and business recovery purposes in the case of emergencies.
“The time-tested approach is to support an active production facility with a back-up failover site dedicated to COOP and activated only during an emergency. Now organizations can vary that theme”—here are some examples:
Load balancing—“distribute everyday workloads between the two sites.”
Reduced downtime—“avoid scheduled outages” for maintenance, upgrades, patches and so forth.
Cost effective systems development—“one facility runs the main production environment while the other acts as the primary development and testing resource.”
Reduced risk data migration—when moving facilities, rather than physically transporting data and risk some sort of data loss, you can instead mirror the data to the COOP facility and upload the data from there once “the new site is 100 percent operational.”
It’s not that any of these ideas are so innovatively earth shattering, but rather it is their sheer simplicity and intuitiveness that I really like.
COOP is almost the perfect example of resources that can be dual purposed, since they are there “just in case.” While the COOP site must ready for the looming contingency, it can also be used prudently for assisting day-to-day operational needs.
As IT leaders, we must always look for improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of what we do. There is no resting on our laurels. Whether we can do more with less, or more with more, either way we are going to advance the organization and keep driving it to the next level of optimization.