Disaster Recovery Strategies

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1 White Paper Disaster Recovery Strategies Overview... 2 Why Cloud?... 2 Recovery Gaps... 3 Where To Find The Value... 5 Who Should Be Your Cloud Vendor... 6 Conclusion... 7 January 2013

2 Overview When people talk about disaster recovery services, people tend to think of natural disasters. Hurricane Sandy has brought this idea to the forefront of our minds as we discuss these issues. A disaster, however, can be unrelated to the weather. It is simply any interruption to your server. This can include power failures, IT system crashes, supply chain problems and more. Learning how to prepare for these kinds of disasters in your business continuity model is invaluable should your business experience an outage. In 2013, the trend toward cloud computing resources and the use of cloud as a disaster recovery method are exploding. In fact, by % of server workloads will be virtualized, compared to 12% in 2008, according to Gartner. Further, an interview with Quorum revealed that experts are predicting that small- to mid-sized businesses will pioneer the use of hybrid cloud disaster recovery and more emphasis will be placed on recovery, as opposed to backup, in It is essential for your business to have an insurance policy against IT disasters. Losing power for one day can cause you to lose credibility and business. Disaster recovery, specifically disaster recovery in the cloud, can keep your business from experiencing this and help maintain your valuable customer connections even in times of chaos. It is a cost effective and efficient method of disaster recovery for your business. Why Cloud? There are a variety of recovery strategies that you can use. Traditional disaster recovery strategies include backing up to tapes or discs and using remote backup service or solid state storage. A more recent form of backup is disaster recovery in the cloud. When you decide which type of disaster recovery solution is right for you, there are several factors that need to be taken into account. At the forefront of these factors are location and accessibility. Many businesses have backup sites that are located relatively close to their primary site. Organizations do this so that if something goes wrong at the primary site an employee can simply drive to the backup site to retrieve the data. Let s take a closer look at this model. In the instance of an earthquake, there can be frequent breaks in underground cables. Chances are that if your first site is down, your second site is probably down as well. Similarly, if there is a barrier to entering your offsite location due to debris or other unforeseen reasons, you will not have access to that data Appcore. All Rights Reserved 2

3 Cloud offers tremendous power to IT personnel who are already very busy with daily tasks, and with the control cloud computing allows, there is need for a clear understanding of what is available. By asking the right questions now, you can find the solution that best fits your needs for the future. A second type of backup is disaster recovery in the cloud. By utilizing cloud computing resources as your disaster recovery method, your company has the ability to store their valuable data anywhere for retrieval. Additionally, this data can be accessed remotely from anywhere at any time. This means that you can keep your data safely in a remote location that will not be affected by the disaster your company is experiencing and that it can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection from any device that has Internet so your business can continue to operate as normally as possible. Statistically, every 24 hour outage a company experiences decreases their chance of staying in business by 50%. A three-day outage can close a business permanently. Considering these frightening figures, it becomes even more important to protect your business. Disaster recovery in the cloud is simple, manageable and cost effective. It can reduce recurring monthly costs by over 80%, and is the logical choice for any business that wants to protect their mission critical data and provide continuous service to their clients by reducing recovery time from days to just hours. It s easy to confuse virtualization with true cloud. They are similar, but not the same. You can virtualize a datacenter, but that does not mean you have redundancy, failover or back up. There is also a difference in how CPU, RAM, SAN, deduplication and other items are allocated or configured. Because of those differences, cloud provides benefits that virtualization alone can t provide. Failover and redundancy control, along with optimization of storage and network capabilities, are the pieces your cloud strategy must include, which is why cloud is important for any disaster recovery strategy. Recovery Gaps The gap in disaster planning for many small- to mid-sized businesses and for those looking to reduce the overhead of the corporate data center is their backup strategy and plan documentation. Most of those with contracted or recovery subscription have realized that those services are a gamble at best, and there is still no guarantee you will be allocated what you contracted. Cloud can help eliminate gaps in your disaster recovery plan Appcore. All Rights Reserved 3

4 If their plans are located in the cloud and they have an Internet connection at home or any Internet-friendly device, they have access to their office systems, which will allow them to continue to provide services to their valued clients. A large corporation with a myriad of small offices usually struggles to find effective ways to keep all of their plans and recovery servers accessible anywhere, anyplace, at any time. In addition to their internal needs at time of disaster, they struggle to determine how much they are willing to spend to service their clients if the local staff is displaced and those staff members have the long term client relationships. If their plans are located in the cloud and they have an Internet connection at home or any Internet-friendly device, they have access to their office systems, which will allow them to continue to provide services to their valued clients. Looking closely at the gaps, let s take a large insurance corporation as another example. They probably have two or three large data centers spread across the United States and overseas. They may be loosely tied together, but through acquisitions there may be legacy systems and networks that make integration impossible in the short term. It also makes recovery and backup of these systems to another data center an expensive proposition if done in a conventional method. Instead, if you send data to your cloud environment, it s possible to provide a remote server, storage and backups that are accessible from another office, from home or anywhere else you happen to be where the Internet is available. Client databases, applications, accounting, contracts, images, everything used on a daily basis, is available to you. If the cloud vendor is one that offers a truly private network and up to date encryption and regulatory standards, all the security that is required is available as well. Whereas traditional systems have a 24 to 48 hour recovery, cloud systems can recover in a matter of hours or minutes. Whereas traditional systems have a 24 to 48 hour recovery, cloud systems can recover in a matter of hours or minutes. Call centers, order and change processing, and accounting can easily be back online with minimal disruption. For centers with financial transactions, loss of data can be nearly eliminated. Hours of data losses are unacceptable, therefore mirroring, or real-time data backup, is necessary for these types of corporations and businesses. It is possible in the cloud without the capital expense required for traditional mirroring. Small- to mid-sized businesses that could never afford robust backup and server recovery systems now have access to the recovery capabilities of cloud at minimal expense. Storing disaster recovery plans, customer data and reserve servers, in a suspended state, for use in the event they are needed is now within their budget and their ability to create and maintain. There are cloud vendors who provide one click launch for backup servers and GUI interfaces to make end users able to easily choose what to backup. Additionally, there are Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service servers available that allow you to create and maintain plans from templates and keep them in the cloud, along with the document management tools necessary to maintain them. Those servers can hold the logs needed at Appcore. All Rights Reserved 4

5 times of disaster for easy updates and communications to personnel. The data lists for step-by-step resumption of operations are also available on the same server anywhere, at any time, from any place there is Internet. What was a dream a few years ago is suddenly reality. We are at the beginning stages of explosive growth through cloud services. As an organization, you need to be asking the right questions and looking hard at what your individual needs are and what you want your cloud strategy to be. Where To Find The Value The first step is to calculate what the overhead is for your traditional data centers and backups today. Your accounting department likely can give you all of this, and using depreciated values is standard practice for looking at annual costs. Be sure to include things like battery and UPS; fire suppression; generators; server equipment and racks; routers; hubs; switches; cabling from server to server; the cost to install, configure and maintain the servers and cost of upgrades; and lastly, the current costs you re paying for backups, tapes and RAID. Then, there are the utility usage costs for network access, power, heating and cooling. Next, you want to look at what could reasonably and quickly be placed in a cloud environment. To start, look at a few servers you want to move entirely to cloud, or look at beginning with a few key and critical backups. With the right cloud vendor, the cloud server will behave exactly as if it were on premise. Integration issues will be non-existent provided the configurations, firewalls and encryption are managed appropriately. For cloud redundancy you need to create and maintain a backup in a different cloud sector or zone of your private cloud. Failover should be automatic within the cloud if a server is down, but if there is a virus or other problem with your information, you need to have backups created that can be restored. Be sure your cloud vendor allows creation of a reserve server to be held in a suspended state, ready to restore at a moment s notice. The suspended state means you are only paying for storage of the configuration versus keeping it running live and incurring costs for something that may only be needed occasionally. Activating a server that is on hold can be done from a smartphone in a matter of minutes, because this is being done in the cloud the bandwidth that is usually the bottleneck is eliminated. The server and data are available in hours or minutes depending on how many terabytes you have available, versus days of recovery in a traditional environment. Time is Appcore. All Rights Reserved 5

6 money and this is a primary reason for moving recovery from traditional environments to the cloud, where you have control of your recovery. What will this cost you versus what you are currently paying in overhead? A complete cloud environment may not significantly reduce head count, but as far as the CapEx and OpEx compared to traditional models, there are significant savings, even if you are a smaller company. A few of the cloud vendors provide spreadsheet calculators that can help in comparing and evaluating the cost benefits. Who Should Be Your Cloud Vendor How do you find the right cloud vendor? That is the next critical issue for a successful recovery strategy. Most vendors say they provide cloud, but what do they really mean? These are the most important questions that need to be answered. Your vendor should emphasize automation of your disaster recovery plan. Choosing a platform that enables dynamic auto-provisioning can significantly reduce the burden and cost of manual provisioning without sacrificing performance. Companies that can provide automation of compute resources for disaster recovery gives you peace of mind that you will always get a better value, while maximizing the efficient use of your resources. Secondly, your vendor should offer a flexible, reliable solution that meets both your own and your end-user s specifications. This ensures that you will have compatible technology to avoid delays in implementation and that both your and your customers expectations for disaster recovery tools in the cloud and support interactions are met. Finally, a single-vendor relationship is necessary when looking for disaster recovery services in the cloud. By utilizing a single company to take care of all of your disaster recovery needs in the cloud, you can ensure efficient troubleshooting if an issue should arise. While you are in the market for a cloud computing vendor, keep in mind the product s accessibility and ease of use. Finding an extravagant solution that is too complex could ultimately hurt your company and your data recovery plan. Finding a stable provider that understands your transition deadlines is an important goal in your successful disaster recovery. Ultimately, you need to find a vendor that is approachable, transparent and can better your business Appcore. All Rights Reserved 6

7 Conclusion Disasters can happen anywhere at any time. Most people think of disasters as weather-related accidents that occur every so often. Disasters are more than just weather phenomena. They are power outages, supply chain problems and more. Being prepared for an IT disaster by having a disaster recovery plan can insure your business against these types of issues by giving you peace of mind that your data will still be safe and accessible. It is easy to see how your business can benefit from a disaster recovery plan and specifically how the benefits of cloud recovery pose an excellent solution to nearly any disaster that may occur. Cloud disaster recovery can help eliminate gaps and costs of your recovery plan. By storing your data in a secure cloud environment, you will be able to maintain your valuable client contacts from anywhere there is an Internet connection. Finding value in a cloud disaster recovery plan is easy when compared to traditional methods of recovery. By comparing your current costs to the costs disaster recovery in the cloud, it is clear that this method of recovery is not only efficient, but also cost effective. You only pay for the resources you use and more space is always available to scale as your business grows. Once you have compared the costs and critical features of different cloud vendors, it does not take long to see which option has the greatest reliability, scalability, availability and security and provides the most control for the best price. It also answers who is truly prepared to help you begin your disaster recovery planning. Taking the time now will save your company time and expense at the end of the day. So go ahead. Find the solution that is best fit for you and your company. For more information To learn more about Appcore s continuity solutions and cloud services, contact your Appcore sales representative or visit Learn more about Appcore Share this White Paper Copyright 2013 Appcore. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for Appcore products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Appcore shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Created January 2013; Updated January 2013, Rev. 2

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