Disaster recovery — can we really trust the cloud?

A recent webinar hosted by ITWC’s CIO, Jim Love, explored the cloud as a realistic and affordable possibility for back up (BU) and disaster recovery (DR).  Guest speaker, Dave LeClair, vice president product marketing, Unitrends, and a cloud and continuity solutions expert, discussed five concerns top of mind with CIOs:

  1. Planning and deployment complexity

“Cloud vendors need to simplify things with regard to BU and DR,” says LeClair.  “A recent survey of 1,600 IT execs and admins showed a large percentage are still unsure about the cloud and find it difficult to sort through all the options.” Unitrends’ free online tool at http://www.bcdrlink.com addresses this. It details DR and BU best practices, and helps organizations build, customize and store their DR plan off site.

You can reduce complexity says LeClair, simply by choosing an integrated cloud-empowered BU solution. “Integrated means you can move copies of your BU to an offsite location like the cloud, easily see that they got there and ran on schedule, and then start testing, all with a few clicks,” he says. “Trying to do this with a third-party tool means all the steps needed to tie into the BU solution are potentially all on you.”

  1. Data sovereignty

This can be another headache for CIOs. Digital information is subject to the laws of the country it’s located in which makes for a “complex and emerging space,” says LeClair.  For example, he says the U.S. government has been trying to exert laws for access rights to certain types of data for national security purposes, arguing it doesn’t have to be housed in the U.S, just accessible from the U.S., for them to obtain it. Read the fine print and select a vendor who’ll tell you where your data may go.

  1. Cloud costs

Costs vary dramatically, starting at one cent per gigabyte for “cold storage”. While these seemingly inexpensive options may be right for some, LeClair cautions that additional fees may accrue quickly. “Unitrends’ offering may seem more costly at first blush,” he says, “but we actually become the better option within about a year of service.”

  1. WAN transfer rates

So much worse than waiting a month for your terabytes of data to reach the cloud via the WAN, is informing your CEO while in the midst of a disaster that he/she has to wait a month for it to return via the WAN.  Unitrends’ Cloud Seeding puts your data onto physical media and sends it the cloud provider lickety-split. After that, you’re doing only incremental updates, which are much smaller and WAN-friendly. “Obviously reverse seeding is critical,” says LeClair.  “Ensure your vendor will get your data back into your hands via physical media within 24 hours of a disaster.”

  1. Recovery assurance

Automating everything possible including planning, BUs, and testing will free you to focus on real work.  But how can you be sure your BU and DR environments are staying in synch?  LeClair points to Unitrends’ Recovery Assurance which automates your DR environment and BU testing which enables you to test as often as you need to. And, for complete peace of mind, reports are emailed to you automatically, providing at-a-glance assurance that your DR environment is working as it should be, when you head home at night.

To listen to the webinar and download the presentation click here. To get started on your free DR and BU plan click here.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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