Cloud Disaster Recovery – Why the hype?

Cloud Storage Services 

There’s a lot of buzz around cloud services. Everything from accounting to telecommunications to everyday computing with virtual desktops, it’s all moving to the cloud. It’s not the wave of the future – it’s what’s happening now.

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Companies are embracing the cloud in droves, seeing the advantages over traditional, read “antiquated,” means of competing on the big stage. Our little slice of the Internet is intimately involved with cloud disaster recovery, and while it’s the norm at Global Data Vault, we realize that many companies are still warming to the idea that there’s something more secure and nimble than traditional disaster recovery solutions.

In the event you’re evaluating whether a leap to the cloud is right for you, we’ll take a look at the key characteristics and benefits of Cloud Disaster Recovery vs. traditional Disaster Recovery Solutions below.

Let’s start with the basic definition of what Cloud Disaster Recovery is:

Cloud Disaster Recovery is a remote, virtual, scalable, near real-time replication of one’s primary server environment that, in an emergency, can be used as the primary infrastructure quickly and on short notice.

Great, but let’s break it down word by word.

Remote
Remote is in reference to having more than one distant, secure data center to back up your data. Any provider should also have a second or redundant site, in a location not subject to high risk of natural disaster. This means the location is not near risks, such as airport-approach corridors, flood plains or areas that are prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes. Recent events have shown that lower Manhattan is not a good location for secure data centers. Washington, DC is chock full of data centers, and again it’s also vulnerable to disasters like last spring’s Derecho Storm. And if we can digress for a moment, what is the point of having million dollar diesel generators in these data centers if you don’t have a functional resupply contract or enough diesel to run them? Sorry, a nerve…A non-disaster location means you are in a low-risk disaster location, but unfortunately our map cannot factor in the risk of human managerial error within the management of the data centers.

Virtual
A virtual server or virtual machine is a software representation of all the functionality of a physical machine but encapsulated in such a way that it can coexist and run simultaneously on the same physical hardware with other virtual machines. Such physical hardware often consists of clusters of similar servers – providing greater resilience through tools like vMotion. These so-called “clusters” are groups of machines tightly connected and working together. VMware’s vMotion tool allows you to move virtual machines from one physical machine to another physical machine even while still running. And with dial-up / dial-down scalability, IT Departments no longer have to dash down to the server, take it apart, and change out components and wiring when making upgrades or repairs. It’s common to have 10 or more physical servers working together in a cluster and among them up to hundreds of virtual servers that can be moved around among the physical servers either automatically or manually.

Scalable
Scalable virtual environments are tremendously easy to expand and grow. A dashboard interface allows for a simple dial-up or dial-down of memory, CPU, disk, bandwidth, etc.

Replication
Replication is integral to your disaster recovery plan. Having the ability to replicate your systems on more than one server provides you seamless and uninterruptable service. (http://www.globaldatavault.com/blog/building-a-disaster-recovery-site-part-2/)

Used as primary
When a cloud disaster recovery solution is “used as a primary server,” it means that in the event of a full system failure, ALL of your functionality is “failed over” to it. In other words, if you have a disastrous event with your site or with servers, your whole system would be moved to a different “backup” server automagically so that your business continues to operate as normal, as if it was always your primary server.

Quickly and on short notice
Time is of the essence. Your RTO (recovery time objective) is in question when your back-up kicks in. Will you be able to restore your data to the moment when the disaster occurred? And how long will it take? Because your data backup is in the cloud, you can have a vastly shorter RTO. Really it is just a click of a button rather than having to go to the machine and take it apart and reprogram it. In cloud environment, your RTO is vastly shorter because in a high spec data center you can get your data there in a much quicker manner.

So why does this all really matter? We’ll cover that question and more in part two of Cloud Disaster Recovery – Why the hype? For more information you can also view the following related posts: