Business continuity is something that all businesses are consumed with today. With natural disasters such as hurricanes and ransomware infections in recent years, wiping out file servers, to name a few, there has been a significant shift in focus on disaster recovery and data production solutions. Recovery time objective (RTO) and Recovery point objective (RPO) are two data recovery solutions organizations use. It is vital for businesses to clearly define their RTO and RPO and communicate that information to their internal team or their IT managed service provider to meet those objectives. In this article, I will discuss about Recovery Time Objective in brief.
What is RTO (Recovery Time Objective)?
RTO is the Recovery Time Objective is the amount of time an application can be out of service and not result in significant damage to a business and the time it takes for the system to go from out of service to recovery. This recovery process consists of the steps that an IT organization must take to return the application and its data to its previous state before disaster. For very critical applications, an RTO can be safely expressed in a few seconds, as long as the IT department of the organization has invested in failover services. RTOs require your IT department first to sort applications based on their priority and risk of business loss. IT then allots these applications the appropriate amount of your enterprise’s resources, such as time, money, and IT infrastructure.
For example, at 12 am a disaster occurred, and after six hours of time, you were able to make the business up and running. So, the difference between those times is six hours of RTO. Within these six hours, many things can happen. For example, you may have to bring up the servers or the storage devices, or the network devices in the secondary location. You may have to restore the data, or if the data is there, then you may have to perform some steps so that the data is accessible by the servers, or you may have to change many things from a DNS site or from the application side, restart services or stop services or many things. So whatever steps you performed to bring up the server since the disaster and whatever time is consumed by those steps is called RTO. Sometimes it may take 12 hours of RTO, and even there are setups. For example, if the data are very critical, or the business is very critical, then RTO can also be 5 minutes or 15 minutes by the automation process.
RPO vs. RTO: How are they different?
RPO is the recovery point objective, and RTO is recovery time effective
RPO is the total amount of data that a business can afford to lose. We can calculate the RPO by subtracting the point in time at which the backup or application is scheduled. RTO is the total amount of time needed to make the business up and running since the disaster. So, for example, you have a disaster, the primary location is gone, you will have to bring the business from the secondary location. In that case, whatever amount of time is taken to complete all the steps to perform to make the business up and running is called RPO.
Suppose a backup or replication happens at 12 am, 12:15 am, and 12:30 am. The backup solution can be anything, and it can be a snapshot backup, it can be a paid backup or any other backup solution that you are implementing. Similarly, the replication can be asynchronous. At 12 am, if you are taking a backup or initiating a replication, and then if you are initiating the backup and replication at 12:15 am. So the difference between them is 15 minutes. In this scenario, 15 minutes is the RPO. Now, what does it mean is that any data that is getting created within this 15 minute and for some reason they are lost, and the data cannot be recovered, then it is acceptable for the business.
RTO is usually large-scale and looks at your whole business and systems involved, whereas RPO focuses on data and your company’s overall resilience to its loss. RTO deals with downtime RPO deals with data loss
Whenever there is an IT downtime, businesses have to suffer a huge loss. So the organizations should be prepared for such downtimes and keep themself ready to maintain the business operations’ continuity. They should have a proper plan in place this can be implemented in case any physical or natural disaster happens. If you define the RTO parameters properly in your organization, save you a lot of money by minimizing the risk of any downtime. So, RTO is very critical for every business in order to recover from a disaster rapidly. The shorter the RTO, the better it is for any organization.