Should I use Public Cloud for DR?

January 3, 2013 by Diana Nolting

Continued from the last two customer questions post, Bluelock Solutions Architect Jake Robinson tackles the third part of the customer question:

“Can enterprises go with the complete private cloud [approach]? Or, is it better to have some portion of public cloud [as part of your strategy] for DR, etc…?”

In Part 1, Robinson sets up the basis for private cloud within an enterprise and the changes and best practices to identify when using private cloud. In Part 2, Robinson talks about the benefits of using a hybrid cloud strategy and using public cloud with private cloud. Today, in Part 3, Robinson will tackle DR in the public cloud.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery (DR) is the hot topic for cloud right now, and has been for some time. In this question, the individual wants to know if it's better to have some portion of their approach, namely DR, in the public cloud. Note: DR in the cloud can also be referred to as DRaaS (DR-as-a-Service) or RaaS (Recovery-as-a-Service).

“The promise of DR in the public cloud is that you don’t have to spend the capital to duplicate hardware infrastructure to a warm or hot DR site,” explains Robinson.

For DR, a company has several options, Robinson explains. One option is to build a complete duplicate site that can be used as a warm or hot DR site. Another option is to have a cold site, which might just be some rack space somewhere that you plan to move your hardware to or purchase new hardware when you need it. In each of those instances, however, it requires that you buy more hardware as “insurance.”

That hardware still depreciates over time, regardless of the number of times used, and still requires the capital investment of purchasing it.

Using Public Cloud for DR

By using public cloud for DR, businesses are able to enjoy the agility, flexibility and cost savings of public cloud for DR, without the initial capital investment of hardware that will depreciate. Using cloud for DR allows the business to update their strategy over time without needing to change the hardware in their DR, too. It’s a more agile strategy.

“The perception of public cloud,” Robinson explains, “is that ‘I just pay for what I use.’” It’s an on-demand option, rather than having to spend the capital for DR.

Using cloud for DR allows you flexibility to be more geographically diverse than some hardware infrastructure DR sites can, should a crisis strike your primary datacenter.

Robinson goes on, “Virtualization really changed the landscape for disaster recovery. Now cloud is changing the game again by reducing recovery times and also reducing the ‘insurance premiums.’”

Robinson goes on to explain, it’s not just about backup; it’s about recovery and having a good business continuity plan. Using the cloud for DR allows you to capitalize on the flexibility of public cloud to change your plans over time. It allows you to adapt and change overtime without losing what you would lose when you change your mind after you purchase hardware infrastructure.

Images courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/