Exploring IBM’s cyber resiliency solutions for critical data: IBM Safeguarded Copy and IBM Cyber Vault.
IBM has cyber resiliency solutions for both critical and non-critical applications and the corresponding application data.
Understanding cyber resiliency and disaster recovery
Cyber resiliency and disaster recovery have many factors in common due to the fact that cyber resiliency has adopted and incorporated practices from disaster recovery. One practice cyber resiliency shares with disaster recovery is the approach of prioritizing the protection and recovery of applications and application data. The classification or categorization of applications is a well-established best practice that pertains to organizing applications into classes (e.g., Gold, Silver, Bronze) and assigning service levels to those application classes. In this context, we will focus on the “recovery” service levels of those applications.
If a fire or flood rendered an organization’s main data center inoperable and the go-ahead for failover and recovery in the secondary disaster recovery site was given, we know that priority will be given to critical applications. Because of that priority, those applications will re-emerge and be brought back online more quickly than non-critical applications. In this scenario, critical application data had been protected via synchronous or asynchronous replication to the secondary disaster recovery data center. The data resides “online” making the recovery quicker; non-critical application data, however, is protected with a lower-cost solution of backup to tape (or slow disk).
The same is true with cyber resiliency — critical applications are given priority and are protected differently than non-critical apps. Critical apps are protected via snapshots (i.e., point-in-time (PIT) copies) to high-performance media/disk. Non-critical apps are protected via backup to tape or slow disk. Critical apps are given priority in recovery and their data resides online. Consequently, critical apps will re-emerge faster than the non-critical apps.
What is IBM Safeguarded Copy?
The IBM Safeguarded Copy solution is an online snapshot-to-Flash-storage solution. As such, it is well-suited for critical applications.
IBM Safeguarded Copy provides the following:
- Added cyber resiliency protection layers: Immutability and the logical isolation of point-in-time (PIT) copies.
- Automation: Scheduled and automated PIT copy creation and expiration.
- Additional protection measures: Stringent role-based access controls (RBACs) to prevent non-privileged users and restrict privileged users from compromising protected data.
What is IBM Cyber Vault?
IBM Cyber Vault builds upon the IBM Safeguarded Copy solution and adds value by further reducing the “time to recovery” via integration and automation. Cyber Vault basically equals Safeguarded Copy plus application integration and recovery automation:
- Application integration: Safeguarded Copy offers crash-consistent copies by default. Cyber Vault offers the option of application-consistent copies by integrating Safeguarded Copy with applications (i.e., it provides the option of quiescing databases before taking a safeguarded copy). Quiescing a database flushes any write data stored in the database server’s cache to disk. Application-consistent copies offer time savings in that they do not require utilizing a database’s redo logs to bring the database to a transaction-consistent state.
- Recovery automation: Cyber Vault adds automation to the data validation and recovery processes. Manual processes are automated via custom scripts. For example, custom scripting is used to save time by automating the location of the most current copy, mounting the copy to a host in a test environment and testing the copy to ensure it is a valid copy (free of errors). If valid, then restores the copy data back to the production host.
Get started with IBM Safeguarded Copy and IBM Cyber Vault
IBM offers Cyber Vault for variety of host-to-storage environments, including Mainframe, IBM i, Open Systems (Windows, UNIX, VMware), FlashSystem and DS8000 storage platforms.
For more information regarding the IBM Safeguarded Copy solution or IBM Cyber Vault service offerings, contact IBM Technology Services.