Consider cloud-based disaster recovery and business continuity before building colocation sites

Go to the cloud and expand your reach
Go to the cloud and expand your reach

In today's business world, companies must operate 24/7 and wholly trust their backup and recovery processes in order to connect employees around the globe with partners and customers and achieve optimal productivity.

When a server or application fails, it spurs a domino effect that leaves companies hanging without access to the critical data they need to perform daily tasks, and IT teams scrambling to fix the issues. IT managers live in daily fear of these issues, which are caused by hardware failures, software bugs, natural events or human errors. Unfortunately, businesses often fail to adopt robust data protection due to the exorbitant costs and complexity that come with traditional disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) solutions.

We all know the obstacles associated with traditional DR services. The expense of creating and maintaining a redundant backup site is too steep for most organizations to bear, and so they settle for partial solutions that leave them open to risk. A data backup system, for example, is hardly the same as a business continuity solution.

Unfortunately, most IT managers only realize how unacceptable the difference is after a disaster leaves their companies in the lurch. By contrast, those who do find the funds for adequate DR and BC often suffer, as well. Their teams need extensive training merely to manage the complicated solutions.

Fear no more. New technologies make leveraging the public cloud as a secondary data center a real possibility for companies of all sizes. IT teams can benefit from both the scale and economics of public cloud offerings, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), to protect all their on-premise workloads from inevitable disasters, whether large or small.

With a comprehensive data protection solution that encompasses backup, data replication, disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) – at a fraction of the cost and complexity of traditional, physical DR/BC sites – comprehensive data protection is now an option for everyone.

When paired with the right management solution to bridge on- and off-premise computing resources, the public cloud offers a solution to both cost and complexity challenges of traditional solutions. Data centers that leverage the public cloud for disaster recovery and business continuity can manage all critical workloads while eradicating the need for (and the exorbitant price tag of) an off-premise backup site or colocation facility. The pay-as-you-go infrastructure of the public cloud offers economic advantages, while the built-in redundancy across different zones ensures that business continues without interruption, regardless of a failure anywhere in the infrastructure.

Keep in mind though that not all cloud-based DR/BC offerings are created equally, so companies need to make sure they evaluate the management, recovery and automation capabilities each solution provides. For example, IT teams need automated, seamless recovery in the cloud from an on-premise failure, not just access to replicated virtual machines.

Cloud-based DR/BC needs to be completely synchronized with the continuous changes on-premise and have the ability to restore operations very quickly in the cloud. Finally, the ability to use existing on-premise management systems for workloads restored in the cloud ensures efficient operations and leverages existing skills and workflows.

Perhaps most importantly, the right DR/BC solution leveraging the public cloud provides capabilities for data center managers to easily test the recovery on a regular basis. Testing is often the great weakness of any data protection plan, whether it is rooted in the public cloud or not, and IT teams usually don't realize this until an outage occurs, when it is too late. If there is not a mechanism to easily test early and often, that should be a signal to IT managers that any future recovery scenario will likely be rocky.

The public cloud represents a compelling opportunity for businesses that have, until now, settled for less than complete DR and BC. By offering comprehensive, automated disaster recovery and business continuity in the public cloud, along with seamless testing and management capabilities, data centers can capture all the benefits of a secondary data center site for the same cost as basic backup. So, before embarking on a colocation project to protect IT operations, look to the clouds.