DR in the Cloud
With hurricane season kicking off on June 1st, the topic of disaster recovery (DR) is becoming more prevalent. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook a few weeks ago, predicting 8 – 13 named storms and 3 – 6 hurricanes this season. While these numbers indicate a near-normal hurricane season, we all know that it only takes one hurricane near you to wreak havoc on your business. Now that hurricane season has officially arrived, many companies are taking a closer look at their DR plans.
At Immedion, we are seeing an increasing number of small to medium-sized businesses adopting Cloud-based DR plans. Large organizations are also looking towards the Cloud for DR, typically adopting hybrid and private-Cloud solutions to help them meet compliance requirements. Why the increased interested in Cloud DR services? Many of the benefits associated with a typical virtual environment such as cost-effective resources, rapid provisioning and on-demand scalability also prove beneficial during a disaster when companies need flexibility and capacity to ramp up new resources as quickly as possible.
So, how does Cloud IaaS-based DR work? Essentially, the Cloud makes DR a more seamless process since all of the hardware has already been virtualized into flat files. Once the virtual server components – operating system, applications and data - have been configured for a DR scenario, any changes to the virtual machine are tracked and then replicated to an offsite location. Since the virtual server doesn’t rely on physical hardware, it can be safely transferred from a primary data center to a secondary data center, and the contents of the virtual machine will be updated based on the latest replicated data.
DR is typically faster using the Cloud than in a traditional physical DR environment because the virtual servers are already on standby. SLAs can be configured based on your organization’s specific RTO/RPO requirements. Virtualization can also improve your DR plan since testing can occur without having to take the primary production virtual servers offline. Some Cloud providers may even offer DR testing as part of their service. The nature the Cloud also lends itself to more custom DR solutions such as SAN to SAN replication and hybrid configurations.
As with any DR plan, it’s important to start with a good foundation. The first step should always be identifying the mission-critical data and infrastructure components needed to keep your organization in operation after a disaster. Then, you can decide which DR strategy works best for your business.