Cloud computing has become an integral part of the business. New levels of virtualization, content delivery, and user access are allowing organizations to be truly agile in today’s fast-paced market. Still, the increase in cloud utilization has also greatly increased the modern organization’s dependency on this very technology. This means that outages and downtime are much more costly as well. Consider this – the average cost per minute of unplanned downtime is now £5,200, up a staggering 41 percent from £3,700 per minute during previous years, according to a recent survey from the Ponemon Institute. Our reliance on the data centre and cloud ecosystem that it supports is continuing to increase. And, this increase is picking up pace.
With all of this in mind – new data and cloud control methodologies aim to ease WAN configurations, create better data management systems, and even improve disaster recovery capabilities. Let’s examine some new methodologies around creating a good DR plan and ways to improve data management in the cloud.
Replication and data migration methodologies
When creating a cloud and data recovery plan, administrators should plan out how their data is being accessed, backed up and of course replicated. There will be times when it is necessary to move data over the WAN –between cloud data centres – as a part of a replication or migration policy. It’s important to work with tools which give an IT team the capability to move data over the WAN during set hours and in designed bursts so as to prevent bandwidth saturation. Site-to-site replication on a cloud-based backup system is a feature that comes with many enterprise solutions and should be enabled given a need for the function. There are a lot more interconnectivity points using APIs which allow for this type of cross-cloud communication. Remember, we’re not only replicating or migrating data – in many environments we are also working with snapshots of VMs and data sets. Today’s modern datacentre and cloud ecosystem is highly virtualized.
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to work with a cloud backup system capable of not only taking and backing up VM snapshots – but allowing the administrator to restore from those snapshots as well. In some DR cases, those VMs might need to be brought up in a different cloud environment entirely. This is something to consider when creating a cloud DR and backup system to help eliminate single points of failure.
Creating a cloud-ready DR plan
During the cloud disaster recovery plan creation process, numerous teams will be involved to ensure the proper design of the solution. The team in charge of the cloud-based backup solution must know and understand their function should a disaster occur. There are features which can be enabled to ensure that data is relocated back to a downed site once it is restored; and for proper logs to be sent out to the right people. Remember, you’re not just trying to recover a data set as quickly as possible. You’re also creating automation and intelligence around your entire cloud backup strategy. The most important concept to take note of here is this: As part of the DR plan, administrators must know what actions they will take should an emergency occur. Without a good plan, even the best cloud backup architecture will serve little purpose if no one knows how to quickly restore the environment.
“Future-proofing” the environment
First of all – there’s really no way to completely “future proof” an entire cloud and data centre environment. However – there are ways to come close. Remember, an intelligent cloud infrastructure is a flexible one. This means rolling out a solution which can support the environment both now and in the planned future. With cloud computing being deployed within many organizations, a major consideration for an IT group may very well be the effectiveness of data replication between cloud environments. Why? Cloud is a powerful tool which can help abstract physical resources and allow you to become truly agile. Cloud ecosystems have become the closest technology which you can use to help “future-proof” a business. You can innovate on the fly and allow cloud-software to help you respond quickly. With all of this in mind – IT managers can plan out their backup and DR strategies, and effectively purchase more resources as required.
Once a cloud management and disaster recovery plan is in place and all product features are created, it’s important to ensure that these processes are all working well. Testing is a big part of this and conducting occasional restores or other testing functions is crucial to the health of the actual data recovery plan. As more data is pushed through an environment, it becomes increasingly more difficult to work with and manage this information. This is why proactive testing, monitoring and management are all important tasks to keeping your cloud environment up and running well.
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