Why Does an Architect need this Skill?
Webopieda defines an IT architect as follows:
“An Information Technology Architect is the individual responsible for linking computer technology decision making and investments with an organization’s tech business strategy. The individual is responsible for organizing a consensus of decisions on policies, principles, services, standards, guidelines, and common solutions for the betterment of the company or organization. IT Architects are responsible for guiding the process of planning acquiring, building, modifying, and deploying IT resources throughout a given department.”
IT is often tasked with creating disaster recovery plans and also assists with business continuity planning (BCP) for an existing process or a line of business. As defined above, IT architects being the focal point of IT delivery frame work, as such it is imperative they have a broad spectrum of IT skill sets including understanding and the ability to drive backup strategy, DR and BCP planning.
Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are a critical part of every organizations survival, as an architect it imperative that he/she evangelize the importance of these initiative both on a strategic level from a roadmap prospective and a tactical level on specific initiatives or projects. Having the proper knowledge and understanding of the different aspects of DR will allow the architect to articulate the importance and the need for such a risk mitigation strategy.
Common tasks involved in this Skill.
The architect will be involved in multiple phases of disaster recovery, backup and business continuity planning
- Assist in assembling disaster recovery team the team should consist of various technical and business stockholders and lines of business in the scope of the DR. The architect should obtain a high level business sponsor to endorse the plan upon completion.
- The architect will assist in defining risk profile for the enterprise and prioritizing risk based on probability and impact. Risks with highest impact and highest probability should be mitigate first.
- Assist in preforming BIA (business impact analysis) to identify what needs to be protected by a disaster recovery plan. BIA should be performed on line of business or functional area (finance, customer service, etc.) That needs to be protected.
- Translate business requirement into an RPO (return point objective) and RTO (return time objective).
- Architect a solution that meets RPO and RTO requirements defined above. Involve engineering and operations team in the architectural design to ensure effective and agreed on solution across the design, build and run technology stack.
- Build Disaster recovery plan based on the list of assets and/or services to be protected and the BIA assessment preformed.
- Create recovery procedure that includes step-by-step plan that goes through both the failover and failback procedure. The plan should clearly define roles and responsibilities.
- Assist in planning a DR test, during this step the engineering team will perform a DR test, the architect should monitor and evaluate the procedure and steps to ensure that it meets defined requirements and modify procedure or architecture if deemed necessary.
- DR plan is a continuously evolving document and should be reviewed at set intervals to ensure validity of assumption and requirements. The architect should review the document at set interval and suggest changes as they see fit.
What is their Ownership in this skill?
The architect(s) will lead the architectural aspect of the recovery solution, as well as guiding the organization in driving the recovery parameters. In larger organizations there might be multiple architects with different areas of expertise involved in the recovery exercise, you might have a capacity architect addressing resource requirements, infrastructure architecture addressing the core infrastructure solution and a solution or enterprise architect addressing the overall solution. In smaller or even medium organizations the architect assigned to the project will perform all the aforementioned tasks
How is this skill used by the architect in daily activities?
The Architect would be expected to be able to:
- Understand the requirements to build a viable disaster recovery plan.
- Understand the organizational requirements as well as any governance and/or legal requirements.
- Understand which business function plays a pivotal role and as such DR/BCP plan may have more of a focus on system recovery related to these areas.
- Understand both physical and logical requirement to achieve required RTO and RPO.
- Communicating the DR plan to the stockholders.
- Understand different technology offerings in the market place, understanding DR technology landscape will allow the architect ability to design and/or recommend appropriate solution(s).
- Ability to translate business requirement to technical design.