Natural or manmade calamities can disrupt business continuity on an unprecedented scale. The traditional solutions for backup and recovery till recently were either not mature or too expensive. Here Cloud has come up as a solution.
Business enterprises, today, rely on their IT infrastructures for seamless flow of operations and staying ahead of their competition. Some business enterprises like the financial services sector or the much hyped e-Commerce sector, cannot operate/function without a robust and a reliable IT infrastructure. Any loss in service would result in huge loss of critical data and information that would cripple these businesses. The loss is not just confined to data alone, the reputation or the credibility of the business is at stake here.
Whether caused by technical problems or natural phenomena, it is the responsibility of IT organizations to restore business to a fully operational state. Moreover, growing compliance and regulatory needs compel business enterprises to have DR and Business Continuity plans in place.
The challenge for any business enterprise is how to measure returns on investment made (TCO vs ROI) in developing a DR site. After all, developing a DR site involves huge capital expenditure (CapEx) and most of the time the infrastructure remains idle, further adding to the cost. The traditional solutions for backup and recovery till recently were either not mature enough to fulfill the need for a robust DR solution or they were too expensive to deploy. Moreover, these solutions were so slow that should a disaster happen, the recovery time used to run into days, even months.
Today, however, the situation has changed, Cloud has become compelling alternative to physical IT infrastructure and for enterprises that want their DR sites to be up and running in no time in the event of a disaster. The cloud offers ease of operation, faster recovery and lower costs, both in terms of infrastructure and administrative overhead. In brief, leveraging the cloud as a DR platform can provide business enterprises with a better value option than traditional methods, irrespective of their size.
DR tools have become automated and sophisticated and come along with features like realtime “RPO/RTO” dashboards, granular automated workflow based recovery, online Drill reports, which help organizations in eliminating manual dependency for recovery. Automated Drill reports help in compliance needs and show actual areas of improvement to meet the objectives of the Recovery plan. These tools help in continued monitoring of replication and help administrators in taking action on specific problems.
So even if your organization’s primary site has physical infrastructure, your DR site (secondary) can be on Cloud. With the help of continuous replication and methods of replication (host based, storage based or block replication), the loss of data (RPO) can be and recovery times (RTO) can be minimized. This helps in optimizing IT infrastructure usage resulting into cost saving for the business enterprise. Inherent Cloud features like Auto scaling, Cloning, Load balancing further ensure that investments in Cloud Infrastructure assure recovery with better Total Cost Of Operation.
“DR on cloud” is certainly a viable option for “Recovery” needs of an enterprise. It considerably reduces the time for deployment from months to days. Having a Cloud DR site in a different seismic zone than the Primary site ensures that the data and mission critical applications are protected in case a disaster strikes the primary DR site.
DR on Cloud is not a standalone service, it includes IT infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Managed services, DR tools and DR services.
Designing a DR on Cloud service is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Since every company is unique in the applications it runs and the priorities it assigns to processes, a DRaaS plan — like a traditional DR plan — is unique for every enterprise. Hence, the right solution design with the correct combination of IT elements integrated as per an enterprise’s need of recovery, are key to success.
Solution design is a critical constituent of DR on Cloud service. Factors to be kept in perspective while designing a Cloud DR solution are IT infrastructure landscape of the primary site, the organization’s RPO/RTO needs, connectivity between the primary and the Cloud DR site, number of people accessing DR site etc.
Along with right solution, it is equally important that the DR solution provider follows best practices, ISO standards and compliance guidelines. DR drills must be an integral part of the service offering because an un-tested DR solution could turn out to be potential risk. At the same time, choosing a Cloud DR partner can be an important parameter in determining the success of the service itself.
All said and done, Cloud DR provides some unique benefits to its users. The cloud’s pay-as-you go pricing model not only lowers the costs but also eliminates hardware dependencies, potentially lowering hardware requirements at the DRsite. Having said that, Cloud DR seems to bethe best bet for business enterprises.
Heramb Thuse is working as Senior Manager – Products & Services,Netmagic Solutions,an NTT Company.
A lawyer by qualification and with professional expertise in data centers, Heramb is one of the rare professionals who has a comprehensive understanding of both technical as well as the legal side of the IT industry. Having joined Netmagic in 2013, he is currently Senior Manager – Products & Services and plays a key role in developing the company’s offerings in Cloud, storage and disaster recovery services space.
Heramb has a rich experience of over a decade in data center and managed services sector including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) & Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
He has been associated with award-winning teams at companies such as Sify Technologies, Reliance Communications, and Johnson & Johnson amongst others. He played a key role in developing and launching the Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) offering of Sify Technologies during his stint with the company.