Riding out Hurricane Sandy in the Cloud

Michael Vizard

With Hurricane Sandy slamming into the East Coast, interest in business continuity services that are based on virtual instances of applications invoked in minutes via the cloud should rise significantly.

In fact, many expect that as the cost of these services drops, increased usage of these services will come at the expense of traditional backup and recovery technologies in the cloud. To one degree or another, that will eventually happen, but whether that results in providers of cloud backup services being usurped by rival startup vendors remains to be seen. In fact, EVault CEO Terry Cunningham argues that it’s more likely that providers of cloud storage services will add application services based on virtual machine technologies to their portfolio.

Cunningham says that virtual instances of applications in the cloud and services that simply back up data have different use cases. Making applications instantly available in the event of a catastrophe is one thing, backing up data for compliance and archival purposes is another. IT organizations are going to need to avail themselves to both kinds of services as both the number of mission-critical applications that are running increases and the sheer volume of data they need to manage continues to increase.

Rather than trying to manage those processes across separate cloud service providers, Cunningham says it will make more economic and technical sense to rely on the same provider to deliver both capabilities. In the case of EVault, Cunningham says that virtualization services come in the form of an EVault Express Recovery Appliance — available as a physical appliance or a downloadable virtual version — that replicates data between the customer’s environment and the Seagate subsidiary’s data centers where it can be accessed from anywhere. EVault’s IT staff takes over the management of that data on behalf of the customer from there, says Cunningham.

No matter the approach, the notion that any business application should be unavailable for a few minutes is rapidly becoming passé. The challenge now is for rest of IT to catch up with that new cloud computing reality.

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