How to Design a Cloud-Ready Disaster Recovery Infrastructure

Here’s an important point: Organizations will need to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) to establish effective recovery time objectives (RTOs) and the internal DR strategy.

Once that’s complete administrators can look at various cloud models to help them delivery true infrastructure high availability. From the cloud’s perspective, the options are numerous:

  • Hot site or active/active configurations
  • Requirements: Minimal downtime should be expected should an emergency event occur.
  • Note: This can be pricey. Basically, you would need a hot site that is always operational – sill, this may be a necessity.
  • Warm or cold site active/passive
    • Requirements: Depending on your BIA – Some downtime is allowed. But not prolonged.
    • Note: This is less expensive and can be adopted under a more dynamic public cloud model.
  • Workload-based disaster recovery or business continuity
    • Requirements: Not the entire infrastructure needs to be recovered – only certain services, applications, or databases.
    • Note: While still stored in the cloud – applications, databases, or other services can be either mirrored live or be provided in case of an emergency.
  • Backup-based recovery
    • Requirements: Downtime is not a major factor – but the application, or workload is still very important and needs to be brought up quickly.
    • Note: Similar to workload-based recovery, these cloud services replicate data, applications or other services to a cold VM-based backup. Should the need arise, either specific data or an entire workload can be recovered. Depending on the contract – this process is a bit slower.
  • Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS or DRaaS)
    • Requirements: The beauty of this type of solution is the flexibility. You can work around an environment that requires no downtime – or one that can allow for a bit of an outage. Or, you can specify specific workloads or applications recovery should an emergency occur.
    • Note: Already there is integration into underlying virtual systems to creating a dynamic solution is not as much of a challenge. Plus, this is a powerful pay-as-you-go model that only charges you for what you recover; instead of just charging your for resource usage.
  • Remember, there are numerous different kinds of services being offered which are originating from cloud vendors and providers. The really interesting part here is that these products and services are being delivered to a larger vertical and more organizations of various sizes. With more resilience, better replication, and a lot more support, the cloud can be a pretty powerful platform for your DR strategy.

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    About the Author

    Bill Kleyman is a veteran, enthusiastic technologist with experience in data center design, management and deployment. His architecture work includes virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Currently, Bill works as the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies, a Stamford, CT based consulting firm.

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    1. Isn't calling cloud based operations or backup "disaster recovery" a little misleading? If everything starts on the cloud, what happens when the cloud goes down? And if it's backed up on the cloud, it's cloud backup not disaster recovery.....

    2. I find this post interesting about the new types of storage and hardware intelligence.Cloud-based storage solutions have come a long way. Whether we’re working with an open-source cloud storage platform or something more traditional like an EMC or NetApp, our ability to control storage is pretty advanced.