Disaster Recovery in the Cloud: Are We Ready?
Brian Vandegrift, executive vice president of sales and innovation, Venyu, will lead a session on disaster recovery at Data Center World.

Disaster Recovery in the Cloud: Are We Ready?

Disaster recovery is something that involves planning for the worst, and hoping for the best. As new technologies such as virtualization and cloud have matured, is it time to include cloud in your DR plans? See if your planning might benefit from the addition of cloud services at this session at Data Center World.

Disaster recovery--getting systems back online and data available after a service interruption--is a mission critical activity for many, if not all, businesses. The Bureau of Labor cites that 20 percent of business experience a failure (fire, flood, power outage, natural disaster, etc.) in any given year, and 80 percent of those businesses will go under in just over a year.

Although there may be debate over what statistics are most accurate, common sense tells us that if IT systems are not restored in a timely fashion, it is highly likely that a company may suffer an untimely demise.

Planning for disaster recovery and thinking through new options is the topic at several sessions at the spring Data Center World Global Conference in Las Vegas. Brian Vandegrift, executive vice president of sales and innovation, Venyu, is a session leader.

Disaster Planning and Disaster Experience

The U.S. Gulf Coast is one area of the states that has historically been experienced hurricanes, storms and flooding. For Venyu, a data center operator in the states of Louisiana, Florida and now Mississippi as well Texas and Massachusetts, they know what issues arise in a disaster situation. They have lived through it, especially in Louisiana.

“We have grown up with our primary customer base on the Gulf Coast, but we have customers around the country,” said Brian Vandegrift. Customers go with Venyu because “they like that we are battle-tested. It’s know we have been through disasters.”

Vandegrift added, “A lot of people out there are selling back up and disaster recovery, and they don’t have to do what they sell.”

“We are prepared to run indefinitely without utility power,” he said. The utility power grid is used as a cheaper source of power for when there is no disaster.

How the Cloud Changes Disaster Recovery

Cloud backup, storage and recovery all options that can make disaster recovery smoother.

Cloud backup, storage and recovery all options that can make disaster recovery smoother.

Since Venyu started as a systems integrator and IT consulting shop, the company has worked with many clients over the past 24 years in developing ways to protect clients' data and equipment and assisting in the development of disaster recovery plans.

Currently, they are helping businesses leverage both colocation and cloud services in their disaster plans. “We still take an integrator, consultative approach,” he said. “We leverage the data center assets we have as well as assets the client owns, the skill sets the client has and develop a disaster recovery plan that brings it all together.”

Cloud has made a huge difference in recovery from outages. “Disaster recovery today is easy, it’s not that much heavy lifting. You used to have to have backup tapes and ship them around the country,” he said. “The technology has evolved where it is easy to orchestrate and to fail back to production.”

While not all businesses are cloud-enabled, many have leveraged virtualization. If a business is using virtualization, they are ready for a disaster recovery strategy that uses cloud services.
“Clients have been taking steps toward virtualization to squeeze more out of their footprint, to get more power and computing from what they have. We can leverage their virtualization,” Vandegrift said. “So we can very quickly, within 1 hour, and directly, get them into a cloud solution. They can be up and running again quickly.” (Of course, clients have to work with a provider PRIOR to a disaster to have that kind of smooth response.)

Certainly at the time of disaster, business are not wise to be pinching pennies. However, the time for negotiation is prior to the disaster declaration. A sound disaster plan worked out ahead of time would outline customer services and their costs.

For example, Venyu works on an allocation model: The cloud pricing is based on RAM/Storage. It is not a usage model. “The client gets full use of the resource. You use it more, you don’t get billed more,” he said. “Not everyone needs public cloud or private cloud. We do customized solutions depending on the client, they could have combination of private, public and colocation services.”
Vandegrift said, for the DR solution, clients are reserving the right to use the infrastructure at the time of a disaster, and then when there is a disaster there is a cost. (It is not based on minute by minute use.)

Broader Advantages to Cloud

The cloud allows the IT staff to focus on the core competency of the business, not doing things (keeping hardware running) that take away from the core competency of the business, said Vandegrift. “IT people are playing a bigger role in the board room. In a competitive marketplace, it makes sense to have IT more involved in the business rather than putting out fires and running infrastructure.”

To find out more about how cloud services can be included in your DR plans, attend the session by Vandegrift at spring Data Center World Global Conference in Las Vegas.Learn more and register at the Data Center World website.

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