As you’ve handed off more and more data and applications to the cloud, you may think you’re now beyond losing any of your cloud-resident data and apps — because, after all, the cloud vendor’s multiple, diversely located data centers obviate that, right?
I urge you to think again.
It’s not that you’re necessarily entirely wrong. It’s that you may be only half right — and the half that is not right could put your business in peril.
Public cloud DR: you still face key strategic DR decisions
Certainly, public clouds tend to have impressive built-in resilience, thanks to their range of data center sites. So, by default these providers do some of the more basic disaster recovery (DR) heavy lifting that can help your 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.
Which means that, at minimum, you still need to make strategic business decisions about what levels of recovery — hours, minutes, real-time — these cloud services should actually provide your data and apps.
So far, so good — unless you discern that your business-critical cloud-based data and apps require additional backup and recovery protections, say to meet compliance demands.
Hybrid IT DR: restoring the entire IT infrastructure in minutes
Maintaining business continuity gets more complicated, however, if you’re running a hybrid IT environment that includes data and apps residing in public clouds and/or managed services and/or private clouds (either on-premises or co-located) and/or in-house legacy environments.
This is especially true if you’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.
DRaaS takes a different approach: leverage 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 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.