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Disaster recovery in the cloud equals business continuity for all

23 Nov 2016

Cloud-based backup and disaster recovery (DR) is ramping up. According to the 451 Research Market Monitor survey, the market is expected to grow at a 21% CAGR over the next several years, and 70% of companies surveyed who have not deployed cloud-based DR expect to do so within the next year.

Small to medium businesses are leading the way, given their lack of resources to completely replicate their data center infrastructures. For both smaller businesses and larger enterprises, the major benefit cited by the 451 Research survey of deploying DR in the cloud is the ability to protect all applications and data, not just some of them.

This “all inclusive” accessibility of DR, regardless of company size and workloads, will draw a number of organisations to the cloud to protect their most critical digital assets. But what does that mean in terms of the types of backup and DR services companies can expect?

Backup and disaster recovery are ideal applications for the cloud, and as we noted in a recent blog post, “Storage Thriving in the Hybrid Cloud,” they are driving the deployment of hybrid clouds in enterprises that want to keep their data private, but still leverage cloud-based backup and DR services.

For example, multiple public cloud providers can run mirrored applications (i.e., database, analytics), while the data being accessed by those applications is kept in private storage, typically on-premises in a private cloud. Applications in the cloud can failover over and failback just as they would if two physical servers were configured for high availability, only without the overhead of the extra hardware.

As in any backup and DR plan, you need to consider your company’s recovery point objective (RPO), or the maximum amount of time that can be tolerated between mirroring your data, and recovery time objective (RTO), or the interval between an application outage and recovery.

For example, if your business can’t tolerate losing any data and you have a zero RPO, then your Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider must provide continuous, synchronous replication.

The same goes for a fast RTO, you would configure your Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) provider must offer a “hot” backup site (hopefully one that is geographically distant from the primary site) that has continuously running, mirrored standby servers to take over an application when a disaster strikes.

DRaaS can enable off-site backups and DR that deliver cost savings, improve RPO and RTO times, and deliver less complexity and greater data protection. However, to fully leverage those benefits, there are some best practices that you should consider:

Business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery are typically joined at the hip. Consider an overall plan with all of your stakeholders (IT service delivery, business applications, etc.) that can address all of the different scenarios to keep your business running. Deploy hybrid DRaaS scenarios with both private and public cloud BC/DR resources to meet different availability and security requirements.

Where you put your primary and backup BC/DR resources does matter. In this case, we’re talking about considering a data center environment that can provide you with a safe, reliable physical infrastructure (ensuring no less than 99.9999% uptime) wherever in the world you physically or virtually place your important assets and resources.

Look for a robust interconnection platform that enables you to interconnect to redundant network and cloud services, and provides a choice of DRaaS solutions that best meet your various business and workload needs.

Article by Jim Poole, Equinix blog network

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