Hybrid Cloud Scenarios: Disaster Recovery

Pragnesh Panchal

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Disaster recovery is one of those must-haves that can be incredibly expensive, resource intensive and error prone. Budget-squeezed organizations often shoot themselves in the foot placing secondary data centers too close to their primary facilities, or cutting corners on performance and redundancy in network connections, snapshots, backups and server clusters.

The good news is that a carefully designed hybrid cloud architecture can provide first-class disaster recovery without huge capital and operational investments. By harnessing the public cloud for compute, backup storage or an entire secondary infrastructure, you can maintain control of your sensitive production data, and meet both recovery time and recovery point objectives, while cutting DR costs.

This is the third blog detailing emerging hybrid cloud scenarios. The first, own the Base, Rent the Spike, was about application performance and cost control. The second, Control the Data, was about security and compliance, with a side order of performance. This scenario is about cloud-based disaster recovery (DR) and cost-effective business protection.

Run your applications in the public cloud, keep your data private

If you need complete data control for security or compliance purposes, you can save capital and operational costs by taking advantage of an IaaS provider to run your applications with maximum scalability and redundancy, while keeping your data private and applying the security and performance capabilities you require.

First, identify locations that meet the DR needs based on minimum separation, disaster zones, etc. Then set up private storage at these locations and replicate the storage over point-to-point connections (long-haul, Ethernet preferred, or wherever is most cost-effective). Finally, set up secure, direct connections from these locations to public cloud services(s) of your choice. Don’t skimp on redundant connections and network providers, as connections can overload or fail during a disaster.

Public Internet connections are unlikely to provide the low latency, security and reliability you need for the best application performance and quick failover. Dedicated, high-performance, low-latency interconnections between cloud compute providers and on premise storage are your best bet. On premise, dedicated connections can be expensive, but locating your private infrastructure in a colocation facility close to multiple public cloud and network providers and interconnecting them through a hybrid/multi-cloud platform, such as the Equinix Cloud Exchange, can achieve fast network performance at a minimum cost.

Cloud-based Disaster Recovery

Some colocation providers offer partnerships with large storage and compute providers to achieve truly exciting solutions for instant application failover. The Control the Data blog describes a private storage database application failover scenario from NetApp using two different cloud IaaS providers-Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. If one provider suffers an outage or slowdown, the application can fail over instantly to the second.

Store secondary data in the public cloud, keep production storage private

Another viable DR scenario is to keep production storage private but use the public cloud for secondary DR storage, either via replication, redundant snapshots or backup, depending on your DR needs. An enterprise cloud backup provider can help to take much of the operational and management burden off your beleaguered IT staff.

Here again, consider harnessing private, high speed, low latency redundant network connections and network providers, where possible, to maximize security, reliability and performance. In addition, locating your private data in a colocation center close to your public DR storage cloud provider can help minimize network costs. Ensure your DR cloud provider provides secondary storage locations far out of a potential disaster zone. You can quickly and easily replicate DR infrastructures within global colocation data center facilities, such as Equinix’s International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers, to achieve this additional protection.

Duplicating your infrastructure in the cloud

What do you do about the existing investment in the replication technology from your storage provider? Reuse it. Duplicating your entire infrastructure in a distant secondary location is the crème de la crème of DR. You can avoid the huge capital, operational and management costs this kind of architecture typically entails by housing your backup infrastructure in the public cloud, where you only pay a monthly fee for the infrastructure or service you use when you use it. Set up the locations that meet your DR needs and replicate these locations, preferably over dedicated links, to ensure performance.

Thanks to virtualization you don’t have to duplicate your primary infrastructure exactly for quick failover and business continuity. You can dynamically launch a second instance within your cloud DR or high availability resources.

Invest wisely to protect your data assets and profits

Don’t skimp on your DR investment, as you’ll regret it when the time comes. By harnessing the hybrid cloud architecture that fits your requirements, you can protect your business without eating up its profits.

Contact our GSA Team to learn more.

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