Remember the days when DR was reserved for very large enterprises that could afford the expense of maintaining a hot site or secondary location? Expensive subscription fees, enterprises incurred infrastructure costs and operational costs to maintain it made it so only those with big budget lines could even think about it. And of course, if disaster did strike, responding to a DR event racked up expensive personnel costs, and even then there was no guarantee that data would be recoverable. The scary truth was, tape and traditional resources were too inflexible to actively test. The best you could do was go through the motions and hope for the best.
Welcome to 2015 where the low cost of cloud storage platforms have made the cloud not only an attractive alternative to traditional DR for companies of all sizes, it seems like a no-brainer. But not so fast, cloud storage platforms are not the cure-all IT has hoped for. Although it’s very easy to get data into the cloud, it’s not really easy to get it out. More work is needed to make data readily recoverable in the event of a disaster.
What we’ve seen is the companies that have success with DR in the cloud explicitly address three challenges associated with previous DR strategies:
- The first has to do with the need for orchestration. Cloud automation offers raw materials to redefine a DR strategy, but assembly and orchestration are still required. Orchestrated frameworks that span clouds deliver DR usage under a governance policy and monitored control to ensure IT can deliver value while managing costs on demand.
- Traditional DR requires infrastructure, office space and IT resources that are constantly running – regardless of use. The cloud eliminates these requirements. Plus, key migration services of VM workloads and orchestrated provisioning, data delivery and validation services make on demand DR tests possible with better reliability than traditional options.
- Finally, vendor and technology lock-in forces IT organizations to rely on one or two specific vendors to eliminate risk in DR. Leveraging a solution that supports “restore to any” allows physical, remote and virtual workloads to be recovered in the cloud on demand – regardless of vendor.
Using a cloud DR solution that provides orchestrated frameworks, key migration services and 'restore to any' capabilities delivers both IT and business value. IT value comes from self-service controls, and reporting and metrics on use and availability. Automated DR tests help ensure DR readiness without impacting productivity, while an open solution helps IT avoid vendor lock-in.
In terms of business value, a cloud-based DR solution reduces waste and cost. The IT organization has fewer assets to own and pays only for what is used. IT maintains governance and control for DR events while improving process reliability. Finally, the cloud offers a simple remote office DR solution.
Successfully implementing DR in the cloud requires much more than using a cloud storage platform as an off-site storage target, but it also delivers more value. What key capabilities and techniques have you found useful when doing DR in the cloud?