A Myth, Plan, and Test: Cloud-based Backup and Disaster Recovery

Rather than using the cloud as an excuse to ignore backup and disaster recovery (BDR), use it to create the strong, cost effective BDR solution your company needs.

Clayton Weise is Director of Cloud Services for Key Information Systems.

The cloud is certainly one of the greatest technology innovations of this century, arguably of all time. The benefits it has provided to organizations across industries are mind boggling, and the benefits it promises in the future are equally profound. It is exciting to think of what organizations will be able to do in five, 10, 20 years as more and more make use of the cloud.

It’s funny, though; once organizations get their data and critical workloads up on the cloud, they often think that they can ignore one of the cornerstones of IT: backup and disaster recovery (BDR).

The logic actually sounds pretty believable. The reason most organizations feel comfortable moving to the cloud now is that it can provide all these benefits reliably and securely. If the cloud is reliable and secure, then it must not have outages, right? Wrong.

Remember, while the cloud is certainly secure and reliable, it is still made up of computers and cables, and is run by people. These things eventually wear out, break or make mistakes. This absolutely shouldn’t scare your organization away from enacting its cloud plan -- public, private, hybrid, a combination -- it should just drive home the fact that you still need a solid BDR solution.   

In fact, the cloud is now a great option for making your BDR more efficient, more cost effective, and more effective, period. Just like when you were moving your data and apps to the cloud, when considering cloud-based BDR, there are a couple fundamental steps you have to keep in mind. This piece will look at two of the first things to do when considering cloud-based BDR, complete with “can’t miss” specifics for each.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Yes, cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solves many BDR issues. Yes, it is much easier and less costly than traditional options. That doesn’t mean you can just pick a plan and go. As any company that has even started investigating the options available in the cloud knows, the sheer number of choices can be daunting. Therefore, careful planning on the front end will save you a lot of potential headaches in the long run. This applies in spades to backup and disaster recovery.

Can’t miss: the level of both cloud and service your company needs. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) offerings in the market take many forms, starting with absolutely full, soup-to-nuts service from the provider. This service can include basically everything: defining the tech requirements of your organization, helping in all aspects of managing your data and applications, developing and executing test plans and almost everything in between. On the other side, your company can choose to utilize cloud resources -- from a single, or multiple vendors -- but take on many of the management tasks on your own.

So, take a deep look at what your organization needs. Be realistic, not aspirational. Look at all the details you can -- personnel, budgets, existing technologies, required recovery metrics -- to put yourself in the position to make an informed choice.

Test, Test, Test

If planning is the absolute first step to take on the way to cloud-based BDR, testing comes right on its heels. As with your planning, this testing must be airtight. Consider a few of your top options and run them through the gamut -- everything from the most mundane day at the office, to the worst disaster scenario.

Can’t miss: connectivity. It’s important to remember not only where your data is stored, but how you access it. Nobody is going to forget that they need an option that is secure and never goes down; that’s what BDR is all about. What many organizations do overlook is how valuable data gets accessed, and how quickly, when a problem occurs.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have plenty of bandwidth, and it’s cheap to procure if you need more. This can lull you into a false sense of security, before you find yourself blowing past your recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO). Making sure these potential failings are caught in testing, and not when an actual outage occurs, is one of the most important things your company can do. After all, missing RPOs and RTOs during a test isn’t great, but missing them in production can, literally, put you out of business.

The cloud is wonderful technology, something that innovative organizations everywhere are learning to take advantage of. Rather than using the cloud as an excuse to ignore BDR, use it to create the strong, cost effective BDR solution your company needs.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

 

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