Maximize business continuity with VMware in the cloud

Total read time 10 min

A decision maker’s guide

Application downtime costs the average enterprise USD 20.1 million in lost revenue and productivity.¹

A brief note

1 min read

Application downtime costs the average enterprise USD 20.1 million in lost revenue and productivity.¹

Maintain and improve business continuity with the agility and flexibility of the cloud.

Improving IT resiliency and maintaining business continuity are more important than ever for any enterprise in the digital era. The flexibility and agility of the cloud make it an optimal solution for mitigating the risks of downtime by helping to ensure continuous business operations. In fact, many IT decision makers are looking at the cloud as a solution to improve uptime, performance and the availability of applications, data and workloads.

In the chapters to follow, we break down how to develop a business continuity strategy in the cloud with a focus on VMware workloads and provide a series of issues to consider when choosing a public cloud environment.

Citations:

¹ “2019 Cloud Data Management Report” Veeam, June 2019 (PDF, 304 KB)

Lost data from mission-critical application downtime costs more than USD 102,000 per hour.¹

Business continuity plus the cloud is a winning combination

1 min read

Lost data from mission-critical application downtime costs more than USD 102,000 per hour.¹

Business continuity includes backup and recovery — and high availability.

Over the past decade, backup and disaster recovery have served as the gateway to the cloud for many organizations. Public cloud has typically delivered cost efficiencies and increased agility without requiring major investments in hardware, software, networks, personnel or physical space. These benefits have enabled the flexibility enterprises must have to optimize their spending and speed — at any given time — by dialing consumption up and down based on need.

Critical decisions for your team:

  • Which technologies to use
  • Which public cloud platform to implement
  • Which workloads to prioritize

Citations:

¹ “2019 Cloud Data Management Report” Veeam, June 2019 (PDF, 304 KB)

OSRAM improved the business resiliency of its critical non-SAP systems using Zerto on IBM Cloud.

Capitalize on your current VMware investments

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OSRAM improved business resiliency of its critical non-SAP systems using Zerto on IBM Cloud

Maximize your existing VMware solutions during digital transformation.

Most enterprises have discovered that using VMware across on-premises infrastructure and public cloud is the optimal path to help ensure business continuity for mission-critical applications. Keeping your VMware technology stack as part of your cloud strategy can decrease risks and maximize existing investments during digital transformation.

VMware is the predominant virtualization platform for on-premises deployments of mission-critical applications. Given its position in the market, there are many industry-leading companies like Veeam and Zerto that offer solutions specifically for VMware across public cloud and on-premises infrastructure to simplify and enhance resiliency. As a result, more cloud providers are building integration and automation around these solutions on top of the VMware technology stack to further accelerate configuration and deployment.

Critical decisions for your team

Mission-critical applications are intertwined with many other applications, including vital databases, online transaction processing (OLTP) systems, financial systems, web sites, HR and many more. Companies must determine:

  • How to ensure all application dependencies are considered
  • How to consistently manage and monitor governance, performance, service-level agreements (SLAs) and compliance
  • How to maximize business continuity, including backup, recovery and high availability

Top business continuity capabilities
  1. Access to the full VMware cloud stack
  2. High availability at the virtual machine (VM) level
  3. Recovery point objectives (RPOs) near zero with zero data loss
  4. Recovery time objectives (RTOs) in minutes

Find the right cloud provider for optimal business continuity

3 min read

Top business continuity capabilities
  1. Access to the full VMware cloud stack
  2. High availability at the virtual machine (VM) level
  3. RPOs near zero with zero data loss
  4. RTOs in minutes

Key questions to ask your potential provider for a successful implementation.

If you decide to continue using VMware for mission-critical applications in the cloud, then choosing the right enterprise-grade cloud provider is key to a successful implementation. It is also critical to ensure that the necessary procedures and safety nets are in place to maintain continuous business operations.

When creating a strategy for business continuity in the cloud, you should get input from your broader team to align enterprise-wide priorities. Then, consider the following issues and challenge potential cloud providers to give you clear and concise responses before agreeing to engage their services.

1. Can you help us develop a business case that includes the objectives and benefits? Are the benefits measurable? Where do we start and what workloads should be prioritized?

Having a clear set of objectives and defined key performance indicators (KPIs) will keep the project focused and on track. For example, many organizations have multiple RPOs and RTOs that reflect the importance of each workload to their business, so these factors should be considered when mapping out key objectives. Not having clear and deliberate objectives that are justifiable and goal-oriented will likely create confusion, frustration and conflicting priorities. The result will be extra expense, time and resources spent with very little accomplished.

2. If we decide that moving mission-critical workloads to the cloud is the right strategy for my company, what other applications and dependencies do we need to consider?

If an application is mission critical it is likely tied to underlying OLTP systems, financial systems, web applications and other solutions. As part of your migration, your provider will need to be able to help you address the full scope of each application’s dependencies without affecting business continuity.

3. What features and capabilities are required? For example, will we need snapshot-based replication or continuous replication?

If the provider can help you clearly articulate your business case, then it will be easier to determine what is needed to achieve the objectives. These requirements should be addressed and prioritized before choosing any solution. Knowing the required features and capabilities ahead of time gives you control over the conversation. Communicating requirements up front forces providers to respond directly to your requirements — or not.

4. What should I consider an acceptable level of risk? Is any downtime acceptable? What RPOs and RTOs are required? What are the specific performance SLAs and compliance requirements that must be met? What about storage and backup requirements?

Be realistic about your needs and expectations — and ask for them. You should choose a provider who can offer the most comprehensive support and plan while meeting all your "must-have" requirements.

5. Do you offer best-of-breed solutions, like those from Veeam and Zerto, for backup, disaster recovery and high availability?

Since these functions are highly specialized — particularly in the cloud — look for cloud services providers that have relationships with leading software providers that have high availability and the expertise and tools to provide complete support. Another major consideration is finding a public cloud provider who offers tight integrations with leading business continuity platforms and services that can support your mission-critical applications.

Critical decisions for your team

  • Resources: Does the organization have the personnel resources and skills in-house, or is an experienced partner or vendor needed to bridge the gap?
  • Costs: How much will it cost and is there a way to measure total cost of ownership (TCO) or return on investment (RTO)?
  • Timing: Is there a hard deadline, such as the end of support for a key application like SAP?

Veeam on IBM Cloud has helped Movius save USD 75,000 in data protection costs each year.

What to look for in a public cloud platform

3 min read

Veeam on IBM Cloud has helped Movius save USD 75,000 in data protection costs each year.

IBM Cloud offers flexibility and control for your VMware workloads and business continuity needs.

If you have decided to use cloud to implement your solutions, the most critical question to answer is this: Which company will earn your trust as an enterprise-grade cloud provider?

This answer is for you to decide. Use the guidance offered in the previous section to help identify the provider that best meets the business, application and availability requirements of your organization — and provides the level of support and expertise you'll need to be successful.

We know these are hard decisions to make and research is critical. Here is some key information about why you should consider the IBM Cloud® platform for your business continuity strategy.

Introducing IBM Cloud

There are three main facets that differentiate IBM from other cloud providers:

  • Value. We offer unlimited, no-cost data replication within more than 60 global IBM Cloud data centers for site-to-site recovery.
  • Control. We use hypervisor and bare metal access so you can maintain your existing disaster recovery tooling and functionality while gaining the agility and scalability of the cloud.
  • Choice. We provide flexible deployment and storage options to implement a multitiered disaster recovery and backup strategy.

In addition, we offer customers access to a broad ecosystem of experts and partners to help you develop and execute a business continuity strategy. IBM Services® has thousands of VMware technical experts with years of experience helping clients adopt and deploy a hybrid cloud strategy, including a fully managed or shared approach with the IBM Cloud® for VMware Solutions offering. The IBM Services portfolio for business continuity includes support for industry-leading solutions like Veeam and Zerto to expand your data protection and recovery options.

The IBM Cloud® for VMware Mission Critical Workloads offering can help you meet today’s demands for business continuity, including high availability, fast recovery times, automated failover and zero data loss when recovering from downtime events. The solution uses pervasive automation to simplify moving your applications to the cloud, including lift-and-shift migrations.

IBM Cloud also supports vSAN stretched clusters. With vSAN stretched clusters, customer data is managed and replicated across multiple IBM Cloud data centers within multi-zone regions to help ensure zero data loss in the event of a full site failure.

Overall, the benefits of using IBM Cloud for VMware Mission Critical Workloads include:

  • High availability infrastructure with up to 99.99% uptime²
  • Full recovery in minutes
  • Virtually zero data loss, with near-zero RPOs
  • Automated failover using a dual-site design
  • No-cost replication between IBM Cloud data centers
  • Tiered backup solutions
  • Hardware-enforced security
  • Automated compliance support
  • Augmented architecture capabilities for applications not built for the cloud
  • Availability as a managed service or customer managed

Citations:

² The performance data discussed herein is presented as derived under specific operating conditions. Actual results may vary.

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Next steps

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Final considerations for your business continuity strategy

When it comes to cloud-based business continuity plans, the issue for most enterprises is not whether to do so, but when and how. IT decision makers and business leaders must be confident that implementing business continuity solutions in the cloud will not interrupt their business in any way.

For a successful migration to the cloud, it’s critical that you have access to proven platforms and technology leaders and companies that understand enterprise-grade requirements. Using platforms that support a broad range of industry solutions that are compatible with an existing technology stack to mitigate risks is also an important consideration. Whether that includes the use of solutions for automation, high availability or other needs, tapping into these services quickly and easily whenever the time is right is an important detail that's often overlooked.

The combination of VMware and IBM Cloud offers leading business continuity capabilities, particularly with IBM Cloud for VMware Mission Critical Workloads and tight integrations with Veeam and Zerto for disaster recovery. With industry-leading RTO and RPO capabilities, customers can be confident that business applications will be available, whether on premises or in the cloud.

Are you ready to maximize business continuity in the cloud? Learn how to make this reality with IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions.