There's a common saying among datacenter professionals that no matter how much it costs to have a disaster recovery program, the cost of not having one is far greater.
This was often used to convince skeptical CEOs of the need to build duplicate datacenter infrastructure despite its high cost and low utility. Lately, however, the cost side of disaster recovery has dropped precipitously as modern hosted solutions allow enterprises to avoid much or all of the up-front expenses while still providing reliability and availability levels equal to, or even better than, in-house facilities.
Leverage Netmagic’s Cloud Based Disaster Recovery Capabilities
Disaster Recovery on Cloud (DRC)
DRC is best described as the CapEx version of hosted disaster recovery. It calls for a fully virtual enterprise environment ported to the cloud under an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model. Its chief advantage is that it allows the enterprise to avoid the substantial capital costs of building bricks-and-mortar data facilities that are called into service only in the event of a serious emergency.
As a leased infrastructure solution, DRC gives the enterprise enormous flexibility when it comes to scaling DR capabilities up or down depending on data and infrastructure needs. With proper management and data visibility tools, enterprises pay only for the resources they actually use, a far more efficient use compared to traditional facilities, which are usually over-provisioned to ensure data and application availability. As well, DRC allows the management of physical-layer assets to be offloaded to the host provider, which not only lowers costs but ensures a robust upgrade path for both critical and non-critical systems. As well, leased infrastructure unburdens the enterprise of many licensing fees, power and cooling expenses, and labor costs.
Because DRC alleviates much of the complexity surrounding disaster recovery, enterprises should see more robust performance compared to traditional infrastructure. Essentially, the DRC environment acts as an extension of existing virtual infrastructure, with restoration of server images enabled through physical-to-virtual and/or virtual-to-virtual technologies. This, in turn, allows for much quicker re-establishment of normal operations than if, say, entire server farms, storage arrays and network configurations had to be rebuilt from scratch.
One popular misconception about DR in general is that it only becomes active during a recovery. But this is only the case for enterprises that view DR as an afterthought. A properly managed DR infrastructure incorporates a wide variety of daily, weekly, monthly and semi-annual procedures involving backup, replication, system maintenance, integration with primary infrastructure and so on. As well, recovery drills and mock scenarios should have a place in every DR program. In a DRC environment, many of these tasks can be automated, with little or no impact on the day-to-day operations of the enterprise. When not in use, DRC-based virtual machines can be switched to an off-state, helping to reduce operational costs.
The true test of any DR system, of course, is how well it functions in an emergency. The two key metrics for any disaster recovery platform are the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) − the amount of data loss deemed acceptable before a scheduled backup takes place − and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) − the acceptable level of downtime following a failure. In both instances, virtual hosted DR on Cloud platforms are matching or exceeding the top traditional DR systems.
DRC works best for enterprises that are already outfitted with virtual disaster recovery architecture but are straining to maintain the physical infrastructure needed to host it. As well, highly regulated industries like banking, finance and insurance may have difficulty maintaining a third-party system due to stringent discovery and compliance requirements. Media, web-facing companies and manufacturing are probably more suited to DRC solutions. And, of course, enterprises that are already experimenting with cloud architectures will most likely find that DRC makes an excellent addition to storage or even application/service environments.
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