SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) Systems control the automation in many industries such as Power, Water, Manufacturing, Energy, Mass Transit and more. SCADA systems are computer based, and so even the best system will fail at some point for reasons such as:
- Hardware Failures (disk failure, power surges, aged equipment, etc).
- Software Failures (viruses, operating system errors etc).
- Accidental System Changes.
- Network Failures
- Acts of God (fire, flooding, earthquake)
Depending upon the process being controlled, the cost of SCADA system downtime can be astronomical. Rebuilding a SCADA system from scratch, including the operating system, applications, databases and other customized settings is not satisfactory. It is absolutely critical to have a Disaster Recovery plan for all SCADA systems.
Imaging based backup and recovery solutions have proven to be particularly effective for protecting SCADA environments.
ActiveImage Protector takes regular images of the various SCADA computers and stores them in the cloud or on backup disks. An image is a “photo” of every bit of data on the computer’s hard drives which can then be used to precisely restore the computer back to the time when the image was taken.
The images created by ActiveImage Protector are also “Bare Metal Compatible”. Bare metal restoring will restore the actual state of the machine prior to a failure. This means the operating system, applications, databases and other customized settings are all restored to function exactly as they were at the time the backup image was taken. Bare Metal compatibility also means that all this information can be faithfully restored to different computer hardware, such as a spare server or a spare PC.
This “bare metal restore” process also becomes very useful when you want to retire older SCADA system hardware and move the application to newer hardware.
ActiveImage Protector also lets SCADA users take advantage of Server Virtualisation technology. Virtual servers (and the hosts on which they are running) can be backed up and recovered just as with physical servers.
Virtual ‘standby’ servers may also be created in a Microsoft Hyper-V or VMWare environment. These standby servers can be started within a few minutes; providing business continuity at no additional cost.
ActiveImage caters for the strict security requirements of SCADA environments with military grade encryption and offline activation.
Offline activation permits administrators to manage all aspects of backup and recovery without ever requiring an internet connection. For larger environments, ActiveImage provides the ability for customers to install their own Licensing Server.
So, in summary, if you have SCADA Systems in your workplace, or have customers with SCADA systems – imaging based backup and recovery solutions such as ActiveImage provide a reliable, flexible and simple means of minimizing downtime.