Cloud Disaster Recovery Cheat Sheet — What You Need to Know
This should go without saying but in this day and age, wherein cloud applications powered bygeographically diverse redundant data center solutions are the norm, if you ever wholly lose your personally/business data, you have no one to blame but yourself.
That said, we are going to use this space to chat about the why and what of cloud disaster recovery services.
Business continuity. You need your business to operate regardless of the weather outside, regardless of a local power outage and regardless of your own user fault. Investing in disaster recovery (DR) services is a sound bet following the old adage, better safe than sorry. Moreover, with Gartner recently revealing the average cost of one hour of downtime ranging from $8,000 for a SMB to $700,000 for an enterprise, business continuity means money in your pocket.
Traditional DR solutions revolved around geographically diverse data centers wherein your company data lives in a data center near you for daily use while simultaneously replicated to a geographically diverse data center (a data center outside of your geographic region) to ensure if services collapsed, your operations would remain up and running.
Cloud disaster recovery plans differ from traditional DR solutions by cutting down on the need for additional data center space and hardware. In replacement of traditional DC hardware, backup sites are virtualized and parked, i.e. idle until needed. Once needed, operators turn the idle environments hot, allowing for immediate data failover.
Cloud Disaster Recovery Models
Two basic models of cloud DR exist, hardware/cloud and full on cloud.
In the hardware/cloud model, companies utilize onsite or local hardware infrastructure for day-to-day operations yet maintain cloud VMs for all backup needs.
In the full on cloud model, both day-to-day operations and backup solutions are VM based. For this model of operation, a MSP takes full control of your compute environments. Negotiated/customized SLAs are paramount in this model.
Benefits of Cloud Disaster Recovery Plans
The major benefits of cloud business continuity services are:
- By not investing in a secondary physical location, infrastructure costs stay minimal.
- By investing in virtualized cold servers, backup servers are idle until needed. As cloud solutions work on a per need basis, parked environments prove highly affordable to SMBs and single consumers.
- Virtualized machines (VMs) can be booted concurrently and near instantly. This means both failover and scale is almost immediate (sub fifteen minutes).
Overall, cloud disaster reovery is cheaper and more available than traditional hardware based DR.
Potential Downsides of Cloud Disaster Recovery Solutions
There are major benefits of investing in cloud DR over traditional business continuity services. This said, cloud DR does hold possible questions:
Since cloud disaster recovery services operate via the Internet, your business is going to require enough bandwidth to not only migrate data to the cloud but to access that data when disaster hits. When investing in cloud DR, make sure you ask the following:
- In case of emergency, does your plan account for the amount of bandwidth and network capacity needed to transfer all your employees onto your fall back solution?
- Once local infrastructure comes back on, how long will it take for you to restore data from your DR VMs to your local infrastructure?
Another major issue is security and authentication. When investing in cloud DR, make sure you know the answers to the following:
- How are users authenticated?
- Are multi-layered authentication methods provided?
- What is the avenue of direct secure data transfer from day-to-day infrastructure to backup VMs?
At the end of the day, cloud DR is about being safe while also saving some money within your IT department. As mentioned, you have no reason in our modern economy to ever suffer a complete data loss. Do the smart thing, invest in DR.