Disaster Recovery (DR) in the Cloud

By Richard Arneson

When organizations first began to realize that they’d become reliant on their computer systems, a new service was invented, or, at least, was needed―. Prior to that, meant little more than making sure your insurance premiums were paid up. This new reliance on computers―primarily due to mainframes in the early 1970’s―resulted in IT professionals beginning to ask themselves the same question: What happens to all of our vital information if [fill in the blank] happens? The first company to answer that question was SunGard, which provided customers exact, functioning duplicates, or “hot” sites, of their existing infrastructure. If the primary went down, the secondary was used. SunGard’s solution served its purpose, but was expensive and immediately doubled customers’ infrastructure costs. Soon scaled-down solutions were offered (“warm” and “cold” sites), which replicated only those portions of the infrastructure that were required to remain operational at all times. Still expensive.

Over the years, there have been a spate of DR solutions, from physical, tape backups that need to be stored off-site, to redundant WAN circuits linked to replicated networks hosted at 3rd party data centers. Regardless of plan or strategy used, there are several elements of DR that most in the industry have always agreed on―DR planning is time-consuming, tough to orchestrate, expensive to test, and definitely not the most glamorous or glorified of responsibilities in the IT industry. DR is a little like being the deep snapper in football. You never hear about the good snaps, only the ones that go over punter’s head and out of the back of the end zone. Not much glory in that.

Here’s what utilizing the Cloud for DR provides…

Quicker Recovery Times

Backing up to the cloud enables customers to recover in a matter of minutes, as opposed to days, sometimes weeks in the event a legacy DR plan is being utilized. Virtualization delivers entire servers, operating systems and applications to a virtual server that can be backed up or copied to an offsite data center. And that virtual server can be spun up on a virtual host in the event a disaster creates the necessity.

Easy Scalability

As opposed to traditional DR solutions (tape backups, redundant data center), utilizing the Cloud for DR means enjoying the flexibility of easily scaling storage capacity up or down based on exact business needs at that time.

Enhanced Security

Arguably the most common myth about the Cloud has to do with security. Actually, that may be one of the best benefits of the Cloud, as things like patch handling and security monitoring are delivered by Cloud providers, such as Azure, AWS or Google Cloud.

Significant Savings

The Cloud’s pay-as-you-go model is incredibly appealing, especially considering the IT industry has been saddled for years with the guilt that comes from waste and inefficiency. Right-sizing any solution has always been the bane of IT professionals; the Cloud provides an answer to that.

Give the Cloud experts a call

If you have questions or concerns about creating and/or implementing a DR plan that will entirely, or partially, incorporate the Cloud, contact GDT’s Cloud practice professionals at CloudTeam@gdt.com. They’re composed of talented Cloud architects and engineers who have successfully deployed Cloud solutions from GDT premier partners AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. They’d love to hear from you.