Cloud computing offers data protection in natural disasters

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According to Munich Re, last year (2013) there were 880 loss events worldwide. The average number of events has continually risen significantly over the last 30 years. These disasters happen all over the world, and the clients I work with are working to ensure they have a disaster recovery plan.

If you have not yet established a disaster recovery plan, the options for preparing for a disaster have gotten much easier and cost effective because of cloud computing.

The public cloud client

Public cloud service providers typically offer multiple geographic locations. Depending on how your application is designed, you can host it in two locations, set up some geographic load balancing and set up data replication between the two locations. This leaves the client in complete control of the disaster recovery solution and if one site goes down, the surviving site will continue to provide services to your customers.

Service providers like IBM SoftLayer can provide additional assistance, including high speed networks between cloud computing locations and scripts to help clients clone their virtual machines (VMs) in one location to be duplicated in another location.

IBM Cloud Managed Services has enabled the ability to have VMs created in one location that can be automatically provisioned in the disaster recovery location, providing a network between the locations and, depending on the operating system, providing automatic global mirroring of a VM’s data between the locations.

The traditional information technology or private cloud client

I am currently working with a client who is consolidating their traditional information technology (IT) environment into a private cloud. They are exploring two different options related to establishing a disaster recovery option for this new private cloud:

• Establish a second private cloud which primarily runs the development and test workload, but can be rapidly converted to the production site in the event of a disaster

• Use a public cloud for development and test workloads, as well as the disaster recovery environment

The trade off in this decision is naturally focused on economics. While the client does not want any risk of what is commonly referred to as noisy neighbors (other clients running on the same physical servers) for their production environment, that is not an issue for their development and test workload environment. The frequency and duration of running their production environment in the disaster recovery location is expected to be minimal. This, coupled with the elasticity of public clouds and paying for only what you use, makes this solution very attractive.

This combination of a private cloud (or even traditional IT) using disaster recovery in a public cloud is what is commonly known as a hybrid cloud. Disaster recovery is one of many great use cases for hybrid clouds.

Do you have a disaster recovery solution in place to ensure the customers you serve are protected when that disaster occurs? What do you think about using a public cloud as a disaster recovery solution? Reach out to me with your thoughts on Twitter @DavidWeck.

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