Among the considerations when developing a disaster recovery (DR) plan is whether you should stick with traditional recovery methods or opt for a cloud solution. To determine which option is right for your business, it’s important to understand the distinctions.
Disaster recovery planning is a function of pain and cost. How much data you can afford to lose? How long can your business afford to be down? Your answers will help you determine which of the recovery methods below is right for you.
Traditional DR Methods:
Daily data backup to tape or disk
Daily data backups are the mainstay of disaster recovery. It’s a scheduled event that is highly effective in ensuring you have all of your data, and it is relatively inexpensive to do. However, you will need to consider the potential loss of data between the last backup and the event that forced you to failover. Can you afford to lose that data? Backups can be slow and sometimes difficult to restore, because the restoration environment must exactly match the backed up environment. With this method, you’re managing your own failover/failback. Do you have sufficient IT resources to rebuild your network, provision hardware, stage the recovery platform, and recover data before downtime affects your business?
Off-site mirrored physical servers
Another option is the use of mirrored servers. This method is great in terms of recovery time, because there’s no restoration required. Mirroring is done in real time so transactions on system A are immediately sent to system B. There is very little difference between production and your mirrored environment. In fact, administrators generally get to do everything twice: purchase, patch, upgrade, and perform other system maintenance procedures that can require extensive tracking and change management. The downside of a mirrored server strategy is the cost, which can be formidable (2x – 5x the cost of the production systems). Purchasing and maintaining identical equipment, substantial connectivity between systems, space and cooling for all the hardware, advanced mirroring software and specialized technical staff are prohibitively expensive for many companies. If you are contemplating expansion of your business, this may prove burdensome to scale.
Cloud-based Disaster Recovery Methods:
Physical or cloud environment to cloud mirroring:
The cloud is elastic, so you can deploy your disaster recovery plan in a number of ways. You can have two environments: one physical and one cloud. Or, you can have two clouds that are live and replicate between them. Special software replicates between two environments — a source and target. The software ensures the target environment will match the source environment. In this scenario, you achieve high availability, rapid recovery, minimal data loss, and the ability to scale with your needs without all the capital expenditures on hardware and software. You will still have to license the dual environments, as well as the replication software. However, it is a robust option, especially for highly transactional applications.
If you need more than daily backups to ensure business continuity and compliance, Peak 10’s Recovery Cloud is a great option. Unlike an active/active scenario, use of the Recovery Cloud means you won’t have to pay for licensing of software except in a disaster. Plus, there is no expensive hardware to buy and maintain, downtime is minimal and there is minimal data loss. Your data can be in an on-premise data center, colocated in a Peak 10 data center, or in a Peak 10 cloud environment. With the Recovery Cloud, your data is continuously protected as it changes. This helps ensure a rapid recovery with minimal data loss. Because the Recovery Cloud is a fully managed service, our staff will begin spinning up your virtual machines (VMs) to the cloud within an hour of a disaster declaration and will have you up and running in four hours.
While the Recovery Cloud may be more expensive than just doing a traditional backup, it delivers a recovery solution that protects, recovers, reports and automates your IT disaster recovery plan.
Peak 10’s Recovery Cloud offers a number of advantages, and is among the reasons that Peak 10 was positioned as a “Niche” player in Gartner’s first Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) Magic Quadrant.
There are multiple options for developing a DR strategy that can fit your needs and budget. The key is choosing the method that works best for your company, putting the plan in place and testing it regularly. An untested DR plan is no better than no plan at all.