Rich Vining

Downtime Is Money: How RPO Impacts Your RTO, Part 2

Blog Post created by Rich Vining Employee on Dec 4, 2014


[View Part 1]


This blog series examines the business costs associated with backup and recovery, with a focus on the costs of downtime caused by both backup and restore operations. This entry examines recovery time objective and how it is impacted by the recovery point objective.


What goes into a recovery time objective (RTO)? It could include any or all of the following, depending on your definition:


  • Time to discover and diagnose the event
  • Time to take corrective action (install a new server, replace a disk, send the offending human to a “time out”, or fail over to a disaster recovery site)
  • Time to reinstall operating systems and applications, if necessary
  • Time to copy all the needed data from the backup or DR system
  • Time to start up and test the recovered environment


But there is one element that is often left off of this list, and it also impacts both the time to fully recover and the total cost of the recovery, and that is the recovery point objective (RPO). If you have an RPO of 24 hours (typical nightly backup), that says you are willing to lose up to one day of new data when something goes wrong.


Often the RPO is defined for practical reasons, such as you can only take down a certain system during nights or weekends. But RPOs really should be set by business needs, not because of the compromises that the current backup software forces upon you.


But let’s say you do have an RPO of 24 hours and the system crashes at 6:00PM, deleting or corrupting all the data contained in it. Are you really planning to just lose that data? It could be several large orders from the sales system, or a day’s worth of design effort, or many other things that are important to the organization. Are you going to just shrug your shoulders and move on? Of course not. You are going to have to recreate that data. That process will take time, and this is time that your staff would have spent on normal activities, further impacting the effectiveness of the business for some period.


The conclusion is that the longer the time between backup operations – the RPO – the more data that will likely need to be recreated following an outage, and the higher the overall cost to the organization. And it could be more than just tangible costs: imagine going back to your customer and asking them to re-enter that million dollar purchase order because you had a system failure. Ouch!




Shameless Plug


The goal of Hitachi’s data protection software solutions is to drive the costs of backup and recovery toward zero, by reducing or eliminating the time to perform a backup (defined by the backup window objective), the amount of data at risk of loss (defined by the recovery point objective), and the time to restore operations following an outage (defined by the recovery time objective).


Hitachi Data Systems offers a solution to the problem of RPO impacting RTO and overall recovery costs. This solution consists of:


  • Storage-based snapshot and replication technologies that:
    • Eliminate the load of data protection operations from the production system
    • Eliminate the need for a backup window and associated downtime
    • Enable much more frequent backup operations, reducing the amount of data at risk by 90% or more
  • Database- and application-aware snapshot and replication management software that:
    • Places the database or application into a backup-ready state
    • Executes the storage-based snapshot and then releases the database / application to continue normal operations
    • Enables, fast, fully application-consistent operational recovery – in minutes, not weeks
  • Assessment and implementation services to define and configure the optimal solution for your unique environment


To learn more, please visit the Data Protection Solutions section of the Hitachi Data Systems website, or contact one of our data protection experts at


The contents of this blog are my own.