Cloud Disaster Recovery: prevent yourself before it happens

The concept of disaster recovery is relatively new, and thus there is a need to get your facts straight so as not to be misinformed by the growing hype of disinformation that is always guaranteed to trend. Today’s high-tech buzz is ontablets and mobile devices alongside cloud computing. Because the cloud seems to take in more information than it can handle, some unintended consequences seem to surface and thus resulting in the compromise of its real utility.

The nascent concept of cloud-based disaster recovery is becoming a highlight of some companies like the SMBs that are still trying to get a grip and benefit from the leverage cloud services for DR. The alternative is highly attractive for IT-strapped companies that are after the security and maintenance of their computing resources. Therefore, with a parked and idling secondary infrastructure, the cloud disaster recovery is well suited for the cloud services’ usage-based cost.

What is a Cloud Disaster Recovery

The Cloud Disaster Recovery or the Cloud DR is a strategy to backup and restore electronicxcopies that are stored and maintained under the security measure of a cloud computing environment. The Cloud DR has the primary objective of providing a means of failover implementation and/or data recovery for an organization in the event that a natural or human-made catastrophe occurs.

Benefits of Establishing a Disaster Recovery

The appeal in cloud disaster recovery is seen in the highlight of its benefits with an inclusion of its implementation techniques; in-house, partially in-house, or through its purchase as a service. A disaster recovery plan can be costly, time-consuming, and even offer some incomprehensive complexities but prioritizing your business needs will eventually pay off. Cloud-based disaster recovery plans comewith big benefits that include alleviating the fears that might prompt up while setting it up.

Faster Recovery

The RPO and RTO differentiate the traditional recovery practices from the cloud-based disaster recovery practices. By using the cloud-based DR, you are granting your site the capability of recovering within a matter of minutes or hours. Thus, the RPO and RTO times are drastically reduced from days that would have eventually extended to weeks of recovery.

With cloud recovery, you do not have to boot from a cold site like the traditional disaster recovery methodology. The alternate solution is virtualization such that the elements of the entire server operation like data, patches, applications, and the operating system are bundled on a virtual server or a single software.

Therefore, if a disaster strikes, the virtual server is backed up or copied to a target offsite data center where a virtual host spi it up in just a matter of minutes. Faster recovery determines the stability of the lifeline of a business.

Financial Savings

The cost effectiveness of cloud storage advantageously applies to the payment of only the storage space that you need. Its ‘pay-as-you-go’ system model will save you from unnecessary capital expenses and thus keep your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) low. Moreover, your storage requirements will no longer require tons of backup space as their access period might amount to days in case of an emergency. The implementation of a DR plan is already expensive, but its affordability is guaranteed through letting the cloud host do the recovery of yoursite.

Scalability

A lot of flexibility comes into play when your disaster recovery site is placed on the cloud such that you can either choose to increase or decrease your cloud storage capacity in accordance to the periodic changes that may be in line with your business demands. The traditional backup will force you to commit to a specific storage allocation on a periodic interval, but with cloud storage, you do not have to worry about meeting or exceeding any storage requirements. You have the freedom to scale your storage as you please.

Security

Signing up with the right provider will meet the needs of your cloud-based disaster recovery plan regardless of the myths that might state the contrary. In comparison to the traditional infrastructure, there is much to offer by the cloud-based infrastructure in terms of the security features on the table as the same provider hosting your production site can also host your recovery site. The technique cuts down on any confusion that may arise from depending on multiple site hosts that implement different security measures. xTherefore, what you need here is a full IT service provider to cater for both the production aspect of your site and also the recovery aspect.

Learn How to Implement on your own

The effectiveness of a DR from a cloud-based disaster recovery plan is at an arm length of just about any company. Despite the cloud being the decade’s most overhyped technology, its applicability as an organization’s disaster recovery plan can be extremely beneficial. Thus implementing your own cloud-based recovery site is now possible so long as the primary data center in question is not capable. Therefore the key detailed considerations you must follow are included in the following steps:

Evaluate your Data Protection Needs

This factor will be helpful in determining the necessary infrastructure and configurations in place to cater for your cloud-based data protection needs. As the primary backup is still onsite, its replication is hosted in a cloud storage environment where it is protected from a flood or fire or any other entity prone to disabling a data center. Using the cloud to replicate the entire Virtual Machine (VM) is also an alternative if hosting it in a local data center turns out to be a challenge.

Choose your Cloud Provider

The next step is identifying the cloud providers to take care of the data protection needs. Building a cloud-based disaster recovery site mandates that the cloud service provider in question offers only what you seek.

Moreover, a storage-only plan subscription should suit you best if you only seek the services of the cloud to primarily replicate data as you won’t have to incur the cost of services and capabilities not applicable to your needs.

Estimate the Costs

Estimating your cost for using cloud-based disaster recovery follows next. There is always a unique pricing model applicable to each cloud service provider, but the total of the monthly cost should combine some x factors such as:

  • The monthly subscription fee
  • The internet bandwidth used
  • The storage space consumed
  • The number of virtual processors or VMs in question

Checking the provider’s policies in relation to the powered and not powered VMs is always a good idea as some may charge in relation to the type and number of VMs that are activewhile others charge on hourly usage.

You should, therefore, develop an accurate cost estimate before signing off with any provider. Tools like Microsoft Corp’s pricing calculator or Amazon’s cost calculator should get you started.

Develop a Bandwidth Management Strategy

Managing the Internet Bandwidth is important because:

  • Bandwidth consumption is charged by a number of cloud service providers
  • Excess bandwidth usage charge or monthly usage caps may be imposed by the Internet Service Provider.
  • Adequate bandwidth is necessary for backing up your data in a timely fashion.
  • You need to balance your internet bandwidth usage x while replicating data or during your cloud backup routine so as not to lead to inadequate bandwidth availability.

Built-in bandwidth scheduling features in backup software and cloud storages’ gateway appliances will be of help especially during data copying. The reservation of bandwidth is also possible through the use of the Quality of Service (QoS) applicable to many organizations under intense bandwidth services and cloud backups.

Determine the Logistical Requirements

The logistical planning will depend on the storage capabilities of the cloud. Storage capabilities call for minimal logistical planning while the complexity of full-blown cloud failovers needs more consideration. Such considerations include:

  • The desirable result
  • The cloud service under deployment
  • The current company’s infrastructure

The aspects of logistical planning process include:

  • How you will copy data from your personal data center to a reliable cloud service.
  • Active Directory Synchronization in relation to extending a cluster to the cloud during a disaster recovery procedure.
  • Cluster maintaining quorum based on its best applicable model such as the Majority Node Set model for Windows where during a maintenance quorum, half plus one cluster node remains online while the rest are sent offline.

Virtual Machine Replication

The applicability of clustering does not suit every scenery as only a handful of virtual servers and applications allow for clustering. Replicating the VMs to the cloud is the alternate technique as it caters for:

  • The point-in-time-image-based recovery
  • The mounting capabilities of the VM’s cloud-based copy and the extraction of the data in play.
  • Users’ redirection to the cloud-based VM replica when failures such as the on-premises failure occur.

The only challenges here are the DNS record modifications and the IP address injection. The DNS record modification helps locate the virtual server in the cloud. The IP addresses in use, however, need to be local to the virtual network of the cloud-based subnet.

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