Why a cloud disaster recovery plan is not enough

Disasters are inevitable, but in today’s complex cloud environments, it’s no longer enough to simply prepare for the worst, says an industry expert.

In the always-on digital world, organizations can not afford any downtime, said Dmitri Li, systems engineer with Zerto, at a recent ITWC webinar. Companies need agility.  “They need to shift from a reactive mode of operations to a proactive one of continuous data protection,” said Li.

The new approach is to build IT resiliency. Li defined it as “the ability to accelerate transformation by adapting to change, while protecting the business from disruptions.”  It means that you need to be ready for any type of disruption, planned or unplanned, so that you can avoid downtime and, instead, focus on projects that drive innovation, said Li.

The key elements of IT resilience

To boost their resilience, organizations should look for a simple platform based on three pillars, said Li.

First, it should deliver continuous availability for an always-on customer experience, backed by solid service level objectives. Secondly, the platform should allow for workload mobility to easily move applications and workloads without risk. Whether it’s part of a broader transformation or a consolidation, organizations need confidence that it will be safe to move workloads. Thirdly, it should include “multi-cloud agility”, allowing moves to, from or between clouds to meet application requirements and to control costs.

The new generation of resiliency programs automates recovery from site failures, application failures across virtual machines or a single virtual machine failure. Everything is captured so an organization never has to worry about large gaps of data loss when recovering.

“Imagine being able to rewind things to a certain point in time before a disaster,” said Li.  Other approaches like daily backups or storage replication can result in some data loss and involve delays to recover the data. With the new, proactive approach, it can be recovered in 15 minutes or less, said Li, which could save “hundreds of thousands of dollars in the event of just one disaster.”

Steps for a total solution

There are five steps to implementing a proactive resilience platform, said Mohamed Jivraj, TeraGo product manager.

First, a resiliency assessment is conducted to identify workloads, establish priorities and determine the right balance between investment and risk tolerance. At this stage, organizations should weigh the investment against the costs of downtime. They should also compare the cost of using a service provider to manage the platform versus doing it themselves.

In the second phase, the technical design is completed and all of the procedures necessary for disaster recovery are outlined in detail. The third step is onboarding the solution and thoroughly testing it to ensure it delivers results.The last two stages, monitoring and maintenance, involve the ongoing management of the solution and recovery actions, as needed. Jivrah stressed the importance of testing the system and updating procedures on an ongoing basis. “Things are so dynamic in cloud environments, you have to have a plan to test regularly. To be truly proactive, you need to be able to take all factors into account and be ready to go in a heartbeat.”

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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