Understanding Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

What is Disaster Recovery in the Cloud?

The term cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) refers to the strategies and services enterprises apply for the purpose of backing up applications, resources, and data into a cloud environment.

Cloud DR helps protect corporate resources and ensure business continuity. If disaster hits, enterprises can restore data from backed up versions to either on-premise or cloud environments. Another key advantage is the ability to automate many processes and quickly scale according to business requirements and needs.

In this article, you will learn:

Why is Cloud Disaster Recovery Important?

According to a research conducted by Uptime Institute, 44% of surveyed organizations experienced a major outage that impacted their business. Most of these outages were a result of power failures. In such cases, it is critical to have a solid DR strategy in place. When power fails, enterprises can quickly recover their data and resume normal operations.

In addition to providing availability during power failures, disaster recovery strategies can help ensure business continuity during network or power outages, system failures, natural disasters, accidents, cyber attacks, and during software updates. However, traditional DR, which leans heavily on on-premise resources, is often complex and expensive.

Cloud DR offers a more affordable and simpler solution. Often, cloud DR is offered as a software as a service (SaaS) solution, which can be scaled according to the unique needs of the business. In most cases, the interfaces are simple and user-friendly and the solution can be quickly deployed. In short, Cloud DR offers affordability, flexibility, and scalability.

Cloud Disaster Recovery vs Traditional Disaster Recovery

A traditional disaster recovery process stores redundant copies of data in a secondary data center. Here are key elements of traditional on-premises data recovery:

  • A dedicated facility—for all needed IT infrastructure, including equipment and staff.
  • Server capacity—designed to provide a high level of performance and scalability.
  • Internet and bandwidth—to provide remote access to the secondary data center.
  • Network infrastructure—provides a reliable connection between the two data centers, and ensures data availability.

Here are several disadvantages of a traditional DR:

  • Highly complex—a local data recovery site can be complex to manage and monitor.
  • High costs—setting up and maintaining a local site can be time consuming and expensive.
  • Less scalability—to expand the server capacity of your local site, you need to purchase additional equipment. This expansion can cost a lot of time and money.

A cloud DR can solve many of these issues. Here is how:

  • No local site—cloud DR does not require a local site. You can make use of existing cloud infrastructure and use these resources as a secondary site.
  • Scalability—cloud resources can be quickly scared up or down based on demand. There is no need to purchase any equipment.
  • Flexible pricing—cloud vendors offer flexible pricing models, including on-demand pay-as-you-go resources and discounts for long term commitments.
  • Quick disaster recovery—cloud DR enables you to roll back in a matter of minutes, typically from any location, provided you have a working Internet connection.
  • No single point of failure—the cloud lets you store backup data across multiple geographical locations.
    Network infrastructure—cloud vendors continuously work to improve and secure their infrastructure, provide support and maintenance, and release updates as needed.

Creating a Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery Plan

A cloud-based disaster recovery plan typically follows three key stages—analysis, implementation, and testing.

Analysis

The analysis phase of your disaster recovery plan should include a comprehensive risk assessment, as well as impact analysis of your existing IT infrastructure and workloads. Once you have identified all of these risks, you can identify potential disasters and vulnerabilities.

Once you collected all of this information you can evaluate how your current infrastructure stands against these challenges, and determine the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of your workloads.

Implementation

The implementation phase of a DR plan helps you outline the steps and technologies needed to address disasters as they occur. The goal is to lay out a plan that helps you implement all necessary measures and respond in a timely manner. Here are four key steps of a DR implementation:

  • Preparedness—a detailed plan explaining how to respond during events, including clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Prevention—measures taken to reduce potential threats and vulnerabilities. Typically includes regular updates and employee training.
  • Response—manual and automated measures implemented to ensure quick response during disasters.
  • Recovery—manual and automated measures that quickly recover the data needed for normal operations.

Testing

To ensure the viability of your plan, you need to test and update it on a regular basis. This can help you ensure your staff remain properly trained and that the plan remains relevant to your needs.

You should also ensure that all technologies and automated processes are working properly and are ready to be used at all times. Additionally, you can leverage testing to detect gaps and update your plan accordingly.

To learn more, read our detailed guide to disaster recovery and business continuity plans

Protecting Data Effortlessly with Cloudian

If you need to backup data to on-premises storage, Cloudian offers low-cost disk-based storage with capacity up to 1.5 Petabytes. You can also set up a Cloudian appliance in a remote site and save data directly to the remote site using our integrated data management tools.

cloudian backup target

Alternatively, you can use a hybrid cloud setup. Backup data to a local Cloudian appliance, and configure it to replicate all data to the cloud. This allows you to access data locally for quick recovery, while keeping a copy of data on the cloud in case a disaster affects the on-premise data center.

cloudian backup and dr

Learn more about Cloudian’s data protection solutions.