In today’s increasingly connected digital age, users expect services to be online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Outages to critical services can cause severe reputable harm to businesses; leading to a loss in customers, decrease in share value or even financial retribution. To ensure business continuity; applications, infrastructure & data must be frequently backed up, easily restored and redeployed through carefully planned disaster recovery models.
The cloud is a great place to start for a business to run the bulk of its disaster recovery processes from as it offers a secure, reliable, cost effective platform to store data off site. Many businesses also use Disaster Recovery as an entry point in their journey to the cloud by gaining confidence in the platform before migrating further services.
Data in The Cloud
Storing a backup of business-critical data in the cloud offers many great benefits
Only pay for the storage you use. No upfront costs. Take advantage of storage class analysis to move infrequently accessed data to lower cost storage.
Data can be stored and replicated across multiple regions to provide high availability and faster access times.
Amazon for example provides 99.999999999% durability because data is automatically copied and stored across multiple systems.
Lifecycle policies can automatically manage data by moving old data to cheaper storage, expiring stale data and using versioning to manage change.
Data is encrypted at rest and protected using access management tools. Compliance programs such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA and the EU Data Protection Directive are also implemented.
There is no limit to the total volume of data that can be stored.
Disaster Recovery Scenarios
Below is an example outlining four Disaster Recovery scenarios. Metrics to bear in mind when considering a backup solution are:
- Recovery time Objective (RTO)
The time it takes after a disruption to restore a business process to its service level.
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
The acceptable amount of data loss measured in time.
Backup and Restore
Data is transferred across a network to the clouds data storage solution and is accessible from any location. For minimal impact to existing processes, tools like Amazons Virtual Tape Gateway can be used to mimic physical hardware so businesses can use their existing backup software to store tape drives in the cloud. Mobilise can also deliver new disaster procedures to automatically backup and restore data taking advantage of cutting-edge cloud services. Whilst this option is usually the most cost effective, it is also the slowest in terms of RTO and RPO.
This scenario uses a copy of the business’s infrastructure stored in the cloud to provide business continuity. The idea being that a replication of the on-premises service is deployed to the cloud in a shutdown state while a database is left running to sync changes between on-prem and cloud. In the event of a disaster the replica environment is started up and the DNS record changed to point from the on-premises service to the cloud service. This scenario is slightly more expensive than a backup and restore procedure but provides quicker RTO and RPO times.
This scenario is like the pilot light in terms of infrastructure, however the cloud environment is always running – providing a quicker reaction time to a disaster. This environment is usually scaled down in terms of size while it is waiting and then scaled up to meet production standards when used thus minimising costs.
The most expensive solution in terms of cost, but the only solution that offers zero downtime in the event of a disaster. A replica of the on-premises environment is built and started in the cloud at production scale. Traffic is then sent to both on-premises and cloud environments while database replication keeps the two environments in sync. In the event of a disaster, all traffic is routed to the cloud environment without the user realising there has been a problem.