Benefits of Disaster Recovery in the Cloud
Cloud Disaster Recovery (Cloud DR) is a backup and restore strategy that involves storing and maintaining copies of electronic records in a cloud computing environment as a security measure. The goal of cloud DR is to provide an organization with a way to recover data and/or implement failover in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe.
There are a number of benefits that make cloud disaster recovery attractive, including the variety of ways it can be implemented: in-house, partially in-house, or purchased as a service. This flexibility allows smaller businesses to implement robust disaster recovery plans that would otherwise have been impossible. Cloud providers typically charge for storage on a pay-as-you-go model, based on capacity, bandwidth, or seat. Because the provider is in charge of purchasing and maintaining their storage infrastructure, the customer does not have to spend money on additional hardware, network resources, data center space, and the staff required to support them.
In addition to cost, there are other important issues to consider before adopting cloud-based disaster recovery:
Does the organization have the bandwidth and network resources to move data quickly enough between the main site and the cloud?
Can the organization encrypt data in flight as it leaves the data center?
Failover , restore keys for cloud recovery
Effective cloud disaster recovery provides continuity for services and the ability to fail over to a second site if there is a hardware or software failure in IT systems. Then, when the crisis is resolved, the workloads are restored to their original locations. Failover , or failover, and failback can be automated. Organizations should run tests at regular intervals on isolated network segments that do not affect production data.
Organizations can choose to fail over data, entire applications, or virtual machine (VM) images. When the data is restored, it is available from cloud file services. However, cloud recovery can take a long time if there is a large amount of data. Application-based data can be replicated to another application running in the cloud. Or, an entire VM image, including data, can be replicated to the cloud and activated and accessed if there is a local failover.
Cloud Service Level Agreements
Service level agreements (SLAs) hold cloud service providers accountable and establish remedies and penalties if providers fail to deliver on their promises about cloud services.
SLAs may require the provider to reimburse customers for credits if a service outage occurs or if data cannot be recovered during a disaster. Customers can usually apply credits to their cloud bill or a subscription to another service, but these credits rarely make up for lost business if cloud recovery is delayed. Customers should also study SLAs to help formulate an exit strategy for the service.
SLAs for cloud disaster recovery can include uptime guarantees, recovery time objectives (RTOs), and recovery point objectives. For example, an RTO can be from one hour to 24 hours or even longer, depending on how critical an application is to restoring the business. The faster the guaranteed restoration time, the more expensive the service will be.
Cloud Disaster Recovery Solution Providers and Vendors
Because the cloud eliminates the need to maintain a second site, disaster recovery is considered a primary use case for the cloud. Disaster recovery requires cloud application failure and restoration, which is why hundreds of providers have sprung up to offer cloud disaster recovery services. Leading providers of cloud DR services include Axcient, Bluelock, IBM Resiliency Services, iland, Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, and SunGard Availability Services.
Traditional backup vendors such as Acronis, Carbonite (EVault), Datto, and Unitrends have expanded into DR services. Amazon Web Services and VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery have also expanded to cloud DR. Other vendors offering cloud DR products and services include Databarracks, Windstream, Zerto, and Zetta.