Quest Technology Management

Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Coping in a hybrid world of co-lo, clouds, and DR

 business continuity strategy best practices
By 2025, 80% of enterprises will give up their on-premises data centers and move workloads to colocation and/or cloud and managed services.

As your clients’ business requirements drive how they choose which workloads to place where, they face decisions centered around how much control they need over their servers and their data. Odds are that’s when you’ll hear from them.

Why colo?

Colocation provides a viable alternative to an on-premises data center and its associated costs. Beyond the usual requirements — robust, multiple network connectivity services; ability to handle bandwidth bursts on demand; multiple types of data service; layered security zones; locking, customizable cabinets; and a provider with multiple facilities able to spin up backup servers — your clients should pay attention to a couple of other key colo considerations when seeking a provider:
  • Ability to address hybrid challenges, such as integration issues that introduce latency and interfere with user experience, and possible need for additional customizable cloud and managed services that can optimize their hybrid IT environments.
  • Ability to provide access to business continuity/disaster recovery resources, including disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) and business resumption center options, which can help your clients stay operational even if their systems go down.

When cloud DR isn’t enough

Thanks to their range of data center sites, public cloud providers do some of the more basic disaster recovery (DR) heavy lifting that can help your clients’ applications and data through various types of outages. The major public cloud providers take this a step further and offer ranges of recovery options — measured in recovery point objectives (RPOs), recovery time objectives (RTOs), and cost — for building highly available environments that can survive outages. This leaves your clients needing to decide what levels of recovery to provide their data and apps. So far, so good — unless they discern that their business-critical cloud-based data and apps require additional backup and recovery protections, say to meet compliance demands.

DR in a hybrid IT world

Maintaining business continuity gets more complicated when your clients are running hybrid IT environments that include data and apps residing in public clouds and/or managed services and/or private clouds (either on-premises or collocated) and/or in-house legacy environments. This is especially true if they’re using traditional, manually-intensive DR solutions that restore individual systems to physical or virtual hardware from some sort of backup, and it’s why some see DR as a Service (DRaaS) growing by more than 50% over the next few years. That’s because DRaaS leverages key technologies — including virtualization, orchestration, data deduplication, and cloud resources — to restore the entire hybrid IT infrastructure in minutes to SLA-guaranteed levels with minimal human intervention. DRaaS also automates disaster recovery testing. This is accomplished by continuously replicating data and applications to virtual machines at another location. During an outage, your clients’ apps and data continue to be served via the cloud with minimal data loss. When a problem occurs, the switch to failover operations happens instantly. DRaaS is most effective when it’s customized (one size does not fit all); integrated with Backup as a Service; and delivered by a provider that understands and appreciates secure DRaaS replication, failover, and failback.