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How To Use Cloud Computing For Disaster Recovery

Virtacore's Tom Kiblin explains how to deliver a disaster recovery solution in the cloud.

The mission critical nature of technology is reflected in the numerous disaster recovery solutions on the market today, although many of these solutions require a large monetary investment, with little flexibility in the actual solution. To alleviate rising costs, many companies are now turning to cloud computing for disaster recovery. The benefit of cloud is that it provides offsite management of data, automatically, and in any location. Here, Tom Kiblin, chief technology officer at Virtacore, discusses the benefits of using cloud for disaster recovery.

We all recognize the importance that IT systems play in today’s businesses. Therefore, keeping them up and running, as well as ensuring the swift and efficient recovery of these systems, and your data, must be a priority.

Disaster recovery in the cloud is offering companies more options to restore data quickly and effectively than with a traditional disaster recovery model. In the past, companies used manual tape backups, which are cumbersome and unreliable, and even disk backups have to be stored somewhere safe, either onsite or ideally, remotely. Cloud disaster recovery solutions offer hot, warm and cold site options, where a company can choose the how often and in how many locations data is backed up.

Cloud Disaster Recovery Benefits

There has been plenty of news explaining the benefits of the cloud. One area that hasn’t been explored as much as the traditional benefits of cloud is using the cloud for disaster recovery.

Here are a few benefits to think about when considering the cloud for disaster recovery:

• The cloud offers the ability for backups in multiple locations, whether that is around the world, or in the office next door.

• Many companies turn to the cloud due to its low cost. This of course is the same for disaster recovery in the cloud. The cloud allows economies of scale, leading to lower expenses.

• Data can be restored more quickly in the cloud than in other disaster recovery scenarios, because multiple copies of information is kept in sync at multiple locations. (i.e., data is protected as it is created.)

• It is easier to demonstrate compliance in the cloud, as it can provide a more secure infrastructure and more control than an on-premise solution.

• There is more automation in the cloud; so constant babysitting is not necessary.

• At predictable monthly costs, resources can be reserved in the event of an emergency, allowing businesses the ability to function and continue to generate revenue.

Setting Your Metrics

Once you’ve decided you want to do back up in the cloud, it’s important to determine your recovery point objective (RPO), which describes the acceptable amount of data loss measured in time, and recovery time objective (RTO), the amount of time that a business process must be restored after a in order to avoid a break in business continuity (What “point-in-time” does the data need to be restored to?). After those metrics are decided, you’ll want to map to the underlying IT systems and infrastructure that support those processes, and begin the backup process.

A Tiered System

One benefit of using cloud computing for disaster recovery is the ability to ‘tier out’ or prioritize your data and systems, in order to determine how often it is backed up, and in case of a disaster, what needs to be restored first.

Using your RPO and RTO metrics, you should map out what systems and data are most critical, and what areas may be able to be down for a longer period of time without adverse affects.

This tiered system is something that the cloud is an optimal solution to address. Generally with on-premise disaster recovery, companies are locked into buying one type of service that can’t be tiered out. This means that you pay more to constantly backup systems that may not need to be refreshed on an hourly basis.

With the cloud, you can customize a tiered service with a predictable monthly cost, saving investments that can be used for more strategic initiatives for the business. For example, a company that handles an e-commerce site might want to back up their point-of-sale application every 20 minutes, while it may only need to back up an email system once an hour or once a day. A cloud solution will price this accordingly, and allow back up of systems only as often as needed.

Clouds For All Shapes And Sizes

Organizations today are looking for flexibility and control, and the cloud continues to prove its value for organizations of any size. By setting your metrics, and creating a tiered system, organizations will get the disaster recovery solution they want, and have the ability get back up and running more quickly than before.

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