Should SMEs using Microsoft SBS rely on Microsoft's disaster recovery remedy?

A director at a company specialising in disaster recovery for SMEs has given us our first guest post. He is warning SMEs that are highly dependent on Microsoft Small Business Server, to implement extra disaster recovery and not just rely on recovering from back ups.

I think Microsoft itself would recommend that small business customers have extra disaster recovery systems and processes in place.

Tim Dunger, director from Plan B DR, says:

“There is a critical need for effective disaster recovery (DR) solutions from SME users of Microsoft Windows Small Business Server (SBS).  This is because SBS provides consolidated server applications in one affordable package, but having everything on one computer means that if SBS goes down, all business services are lost together.

So what happens if SBS fails, is permanently damaged or stolen? Rebuilding SBS is really challenging because it has a number of key applications that might otherwise be found on separate servers, so the rebuild process is often longer and more complicated.

Companies that rely on SBS typically possess limited or no in-house IT support – meaning that it is harder to carry out system maintenance and repetitive low-level tasks like server backups. Yet backups are almost always the only recovery route these businesses have in the event of a server loss.

More worryingly, in a server loss scenario, Microsoft’s remedy is to recover from backups. Unfortunately, on average about 20% of backups fail and the backup will only be useful once a SBS has been replaced or rebuilt, which due to its complexity, can take up to 10 days.

Limited IT support also means that small companies have less scope to handle an IT disaster internally. SBS users need to establish who will do this work and how long their business could cope without all its computer systems – before customers go elsewhere and the business suffers irreparable damage?

Fortunately there are new DR services in the market that exploit the cost benefits of virtualistion. These are highly capable, proven, fully managed DR offerings, with low prices to suit SME’s budgets.”