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Disaster Recovery in the Hybrid Cloud Era: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid

Posted by Laz Vekiarides on 2/2/17 1:00 PM

set your DR up for successIs your disaster recovery (DR) strategy inhibiting your company’s growth?

The idea may seem counterintuitive. Frequent backups are generally seen as part of a healthy IT ecosystem, and testing helps ensure that a comprehensive DR plan can function as a series of actions – not just a static plan. As a result, many IT folks think of DR as a tool to help preserve the business continuity of their organizations.

However, when organizations rely on traditional DR strategies, such as using secondary data centers as a backup sites, they miss out on the added services and convenience made available by hybrid cloud-based DR. Today’s cloud era has changed the game, and traditional DR can hold companies back if they’re not willing to change, as well. Below, we’re debunking four myths about hybrid DR to help your organization seize new trends and continue to grow.

Myth No. 1: Hybrid DR will allow us to completely eliminate recurring spending.  

Everyone likes to idealize the on-demand nature of the cloud in ways that lead to ugly surprises. For example, there’s an idea that there is no recurring cloud charge for maintaining cloud DR infrastructure. In fact, not only will you find a significant charge for staging data in the cloud, but you’ll need a fair amount of infrastructure to be pre-staged and running. Think, for example, how your users would be able to log into your DR site resources if the directory server does not have an up to date view of their passwords. In order to get hybrid to work, significant recurring dollars will need to be spent. 

Myth No. 2: If your secondary data center is in a remote location, traditional DR will be cheap.

In the world of colocation, the object of the game is really to leverage the connectivity and resiliency of someone else’s expensive build out. It is a well-known fact that the bulk of all data center outages are power failures or power-related calamities. For this reason, at our company, we try and stick to locations that have redundancy and resiliency across all of the major systems and utilities. Having your DR in a tier-3 (or better) data center will help you sleep better. Further, paying more for the rack space can often be offset by the connectivity economics of these facilities.     

Myth No. 3: Hybrid DR provides us with an RTO/RPO SLA that is equivalent to our physical infrastructure.

The oft-ignored truth about hybrid scenarios is that the most popular public cloud environments are built with a big moat. Getting your data there incurs a substantial expense. Getting compute to operate on it requires a fair amount of proprietary conversion processing. The process of making your workloads run in these environments is proprietary and painful, not to mention the process of getting your workloads out. Implementing these conversions at a reasonable scale is an impossibility, hence limiting cloud DR runbooks to only a small number of workloads with very long RTOs, not to mention subpar performance.   

Myth No. 4: Hybrid DR never fails.

No strategy is perfect – especially in the fast-moving IT world. Networking issues sometimes arise during hybrid cloud-based recovery scenarios, and organizations may have trouble predicting the time frame for their return to normal operations. They must consider factors like the time needed to move data from backup to production storage, the number of recoveries simultaneously taking place and performance expectations following the failure. For some companies, the hybrid DR approach is more extensive than necessary.

The key to hybrid DR, like many other factors in the data center, is to know your company – and do your best to prepare it for success. Using edge computing to cut latency and moving data to the cloud when possible can alleviate pressure on your primary IT processes. For nearly every organization, the golden ratio of IT power comes from a combination of public clouds, private cloud and on-premises storage support. The trick is to learn that equation for your particular IT environment, and then put it into practice.

Learn more about accessing disaster recovery on demand with a hybrid cloud.

Topics: Bringing the Cloud to Primary Data , Founder's Perspective

About the Author

Laz Vekiarides

For over 20 years Laz Vekiarides has served in key technical and leadership roles delivering breakthrough technologies to market. Most recently, he served as the Executive Director of Software Engineering for Dell’s EqualLogic Storage Engineering group, where he led the development of numerous storage innovations and established the EqualLogic product line as a leader in host OS and hypervisor integration.

Laz joined Dell from EqualLogic, which was acquired in early 2008, where he was a member of the core leadership team – playing a key role in the company’s early success as a Senior Engineering Manager and Architect for the PS Series SAN arrays and host tools. Prior to EqualLogic, Laz held senior engineering and management positions at several companies including 3COM and Banyan Systems.

An occasional blogger, Laz frequently speaks at industry conferences, particularly in the areas of virtualization and data storage. He holds several storage technology patents, as well as a BSEE from Northeastern University, and an MSCS from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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