Disaster recovery: what will you do when the lights go out?

The redundancy plan in case of an outage should be built around high availability, disaster recovery and business continuity. It’s not a case of “if” but “when,” therefore, by planning ahead, the overall impact of an outage can be significantly reduced.

The answer is in the cloud

One way of getting to grips with this issue is to turn to the cloud. This will help educate enterprises that outages can in fact be rectified with minimal investment.

Disaster recovery and backup is just one example. Many organisations are under the illusion that they have a robust strategy in place, but only when there is downtime and it is tested do they realise that the solution doesn’t meet their current needs at an operation or compliance level.

>See also: Why critical data can’t be hosted with just one provider: the AWS outage

The recent Amazon Web Services (AWS) Simple Storage (S3) outage in US-EAST-1 Region is a timely reminder about the importance of having a robust availability strategy and embracing hybrid cloud.

The S3 outage took down several large websites for several hours. During the two and a half hour disruption, S&P 500 companies lost $150 million, per Cyence while US financial services companies lost an estimated $160 million.

Downtime costs not only revenue but brand reputation, and consumer confidence takes a hit that forces enterprises to reassess their multi-cloud strategies. Veeam’s research found that the annual cost of downtime to an organisation can be up to $16 million.

The AWS S3 outage is proof that even best-in-class solutions can suffer downtime. The ripple effect felt across its business customers – from Business Insider to Slack – goes to show how reliant businesses are on a single source of backup.

This example paints a clear picture for backup – or more specifically data availability – across a hybrid cloud architecture, ensuring that the ‘crown jewels’ of any business are backed up locally and can continue to operate when another source goes down. Relying on a provider to backup vital information when the service itself is down spells an obvious dilemma.

Hybrid – the best of both worlds

The hybrid cloud trend has been confirmed by leading analyst firms, with IDC predicting organisations will require a mainly cloud-based IT environment by 2019 and 451 Research claiming that public storage spend will double in the next two years as demand for on-premise storage declines.

Predictions of hybrid cloud’s promise have seen the world’s largest technology organisations begin to lay major plans for a hybrid future.

>See also: The cloud is great, but what happens when it goes down?

For example, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Microsoft recently created an innovation centre in Seattle that will speed up hybrid cloud adoption and help customers test hybrid solutions and use cases, such as HPE/Azure Stack environments.

To take advantage of this opportunity, enterprises must apply the same principles they utilise in maintaining multiple data centres to data storage in the cloud. A single cloud will no longer suffice.

The move towards hybrid cloud makes the integrity of data and services a major priority for enterprises. It will therefore be essential to strike a fine balance between on-premise and various as-a-service offerings, to ensure data is always available and synchronised across multiple platforms.

Hybrid is gaining in popularity as it offers not only the flexibility and data deployment benefits of public cloud, but also provides the security assurance of on-premise, private cloud – effectively giving businesses the best of both worlds.

This means organisations can now store their most important or sensitive data on the private cloud, whilst using the public cloud for capabilities that can be rapidly provisioned, whether it be to quickly scale up and rapidly release capacity, or to quickly scale down.

The rising demand for cloud is ultimately being fuelled by businesses wanting to embrace the digital transformation process. The modern enterprise needs to be founded on key technologies provided by virtualisation, modern storage systems and cloud technologies to be fully transformative.

>See also: Down and out: 3 lessons learned from Amazon’s 2 hour outage

This puts strain on the availability of data and information, as it involves updating legacy systems and investing time and money.

It is therefore critical that availability is put at the forefront of any digital transformation or hybrid cloud strategy. This will ensure that when major outages strike there’s a backup and disaster recovery plan in place to guarantee that downtime is not an issue.

The new digital economy dictates that old rules don’t apply and that approaches to problem solving must adapt. Businesses of all sizes must ensure they deliver services at any time, from anywhere, while at the same time streamlining costs and engaging efficiency.

No critical infrastructure should be reprioritised or considered too broken to fix – it’s time to embrace business transformation through the cloud.


Sourced by Richard Agnew, VP NW EMEA, Veeam

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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