Over the past couple of months we have seen tremendous interest in using cloud for disaster recovery solutions. Some of this has been fueled by CIO’s looking for a more cost-effective method of DR from traditional cold/warm/hot sites and others from cloud customers who have been impacted by some of the outages of late at Rackspace and Amazon.
If we pull back the hype, cloud is really a virtualized platform running in a geography (i.e., datacenter, availability zone, location, region…). Most of the more mature cloud providers have multiple cloud pops with some form of interconnect. For Carpathia Hosting, our cloud pops are northern Virginia and Arizona. Within a geography, cloud technology affords a great degree of resiliency to component failure, but lose the geography due to something catastrophic - whether it be natural disasters, facility infrastructure failures or sys-admin “oops” – at which point, cloud is much like any kind of hosting solution. Offline . Resiliency does != DR.
People who have adopted the cloud gain a lot of technology advantages that help them solve the issue of portability between cloud pops. In addition, as standards emerge between cloud providers, it will become that much more straightforward to have a copy of the “application” in a remote location. With today’s cloud platforms this isn’t automatic. Although great improvements have been made in the past six months, the technology still isn’t there.
So cloud hosting customers should consider DR in exactly the same way a traditionally-hosted infrastructure does — build a plan, test a plan, re-test a plan. Simply being in the cloud (at least today’s versions) doesn’t provide a DR solution.
So how does Carpathia Hosting position cloud DR? We have an approach that takes advantage of the per CPU hour/per GB to allow customers to:
- Replicate data from production to a remote cloud nstance (i.e., data can be hosted on dedicated infrastructure or cloud/virtualized).
- Host golden images of “servers” in our cloud template library.
- Build an “application group” that can instantiate virtual servers, virtual firewalls, virtual load balancers, etc. with one click from the golden images tied to replicated data. Application groups understand private networking/vlans, security policy, meta data about servers. Everything to re-create an infrastructure.
- Deliver as a managed service, customer picks up the “bat phone” and calls a DR event. We put the plan in place to meet your recovery time objectives.
- Tests with the customer every six months (or whatever the policy is), record results, iterate plan, etc..
- Pay for server resources when you use them (twice a year in DR test and in a real DR).
- Deliver bandwidth in a very cost-effective way, not “bytes transferred”.
This kind of cloud DR solution costs about 25% of a traditional warm DR site. Since data replication takes place in real time, recover point objectives can be very aggressive (and your data is offsite by default).
If you would like to learn more, drop me a note or send an email to email@example.com.