Multi-Cloud Disaster Recovery in the Modern World

Posted 07/23/2019 by Keith Townsend

With challenges such as integrating Kubernetes, serverless architectures and continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) into current operations, why is backup a CTO-level consideration?

If your existing data protection company focuses only on backup and recovery, you are doing your organization a disservice. Today’s data protection landscape goes far beyond backup and recovery. Enterprise customers are leveraging data protection solutions to power CI/CD, make data available to Kubernetes and serverless landscapes, and to leverage public cloud for analytics/machine learning (ML). With all that said, the most immediate benefit of modern data protection remains modern disaster recovery.

Defining disaster recovery

What exactly is modern disaster recovery? I participated in a recent webinar, now on-demand, with Penny Gralewski and I started with answering that fundamental question. Whether discussing classic disaster recovery or a modern approach, disaster recovery begins with a business continuity program. Organizations must determine what’s an IT-specific task, such as recovering from a single set of malware-infected servers to recovering from a natural disaster that impacts not only the data center but standard business operations.

After establishing a common taxonomy, it’s essential to understand the base capability that data protection solutions provide to modern disaster recovery strategies. Modern data protection acts as a democratizing force for creating a new disaster recovery policy.

With modern data protection, organizations now can create and implement policies based on recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) that were only achievable for an elite class of IT budgets. Organizations have the tools to provide advanced policies without an enormous increase in associated cost.

New baseline cloud features

Some of these new baseline features include the capability to recover not only to remote processing facilities but also to the public cloud. Using the public cloud as a backup target offers more than a new bunker site for cold data. Modern solutions enable the orchestration of the recovery of data and operating systems to cloud instances.

The ability to restore a Windows or Linux system to a public cloud provider such as AWS or Azure results in the ability to offer warm RTO times that previously required dedicated remote data center services. Restoration isn’t limited to the public cloud. Partnerships are created between data protection companies and managed service providers to enable turnkey disaster recovery operations. These turnkey solutions simplify recovery and failback.

Modern solutions reduce the time required to test the disaster recovery solution. Organizations now have the base capability to recover clones of production into an isolated public cloud environment. Except for testing business connection such as payment processing, business process teams can now connect to a disaster recovery compartment in a public cloud provider and test all business functions of a disaster recovery application.

Secondary use cases

It’s the ability to recover in public cloud, virtually at will, that enables additional use cases. As a regular part of the backup process, IT shops provide data scientists with the base capability to ingest massive amounts of data. Take data analytics as an example. Data center operators can now offer thousands of GPU based instances as inference engines against data lakes powered by backup systems. Modern data protection platforms leverage deduplication to shuttle data from on-premises solutions to public cloud providers.

There are application benefits as well. Application developers can request full copies of production data to test new application architectures or develop CI/CD workflows without impacting the production environment.

Want to learn more? Watch the on-demand webinar "Harnessing Multi-Cloud Disaster Recovery" as Commvault's Penny Gralewski and I share use cases from our long IT careers on how disaster recovery has benefited from the modern features of data protection solutions.

Keith Townsend, co-founder of the CTO Advisor, has more than 20 years of experience implementing and designing enterprise IT systems.