Disaster recovery in cloud environments is emerging as one of the must-have tools now that enterprises are looking for more than just massively scalable data repositories.
As more applications and development environments make their way to both internal and external cloud architectures, the cloud becomes not just a convenience but a strategic asset that is just as vital, and just as vulnerable to disruption, as existing physical and virtual infrastructure.
As author Dan Blacharski pointed out on onestopclick.com recently, disaster recovery and service levels go hand-in-hand, meaning it's not enough to have a piece of paper ensuring cloud uptime. Customers need to verify that providers have adequate failover and recovery policies in place to ensure that QoS targets can be met.
With the plethora of new cloud-based DR products and services hitting the channel, there should be no excuse for not having a suitable recovery plan anymore. VirtualSharp, for instance, just released a new software stack designed to provide automated failover and recovery to and from private and public clouds. The ReliableDR system provides for automated setup and monitoring of recovery times and other parameters, which are then tested at regular intervals to ensure compliance. If testing fails, both the cloud provider and the customer have ample time to correct problems before an outage occurs. The system is only available for VMware environments, with a target price of $100 per virtual machine, depending on the selected cloud provider.
In other circles, the notion of cloud-based recovery is already taking on the DR-as-a-Service moniker. The Netherlands' ZXFactory is offering such a program called ZX Continue, powered by hypervisor-based replication technology from Zerto. The service is aimed at Tier-1 applications in VMware environments and is available on a pay-as-you-go basis. The Zerto platform offers replication within virtual infrastructure rather than to a physical storage array, which the company says enhances synchronization and migration processes.
Yet another solution comes from IT-Lifeline, which has deployed CommVault's Simpana 9 software on its BlackCloud Edge service to deliver DR capabilities to mid-sized organizations using Amazon Web Services. The system provides source-side dedupe, encryption and integration to seamlessly transfer backup and archive data to and from the Amazon cloud. This not only enhances IT-Lifeline's ability to scale DR service, but helps lower costs and improve security.
There's a little twist of irony in the fact that the cloud can not only enhance disaster recovery operations for traditional data center infrastructure, but for other cloud services as well. Some data managers may not feel comfortable with the idea of storing backup data on multiple clouds, but you have to admit that it is quite a bit cheaper than maintaining fully redundant infrastructure in house.