Why hybrid cloud improves disaster recovery
Hybrid cloud offers a flexible, lower-cost alternative to public or private clouds alone.
According to an IDG Research survey, 56% of the enterprise IT executives polled said that a hybrid cloud architecture improves their disaster recovery capabilities. Hybrid clouds offer the best of breed of both private and public cloud architectures, while enabling IT departments to leverage their existing investments and maintain control.
Hybrid cloud combines the core functions of public cloud and privately managed infrastructure in one package. Organisations benefit from an integrated IT environment that delivers a better user experience, increased resiliency and greater flexibility.
This flexibility enables the hybrid cloud to accommodate a wide range of applications, including backup and disaster recovery (DR). The benefits of such mixed infrastructures are substantial.
Traditionally, a complete disaster recovery solution has been complex and expensive to deploy. Ideally, an organisation will have two locations: a primary data centre and a separate one to support the operation should the main site fail.
But maintaining this type of environment is cost prohibitive, and so secondary sites are deployed mostly by larger companies with deep pockets and fully staffed IT departments. Double the resources, such as server hardware, storage devices, bandwidth and manpower, are required to run two locations, and the bigger the workloads, the bigger the demand.
Contrast that with the flexible pay-as-you-go pricing model of the cloud, and DR goes from cost prohibitive to cost-effective. With no need to pour excess funds into physical resources, smaller businesses can spend their IT budgets in ways that were previously impossible.
The instant availability of built-in Windows tools such as Hyper-V Replica and various SaaS-based applications enables network managers to replicate data to the cloud and manage DR operations without buying additional licences. Getting the secondary site up and running is easier and more affordable.
DR also benefits from the simplicity of a hybrid cloud set-up. When partnering with a cloud service provider, the provider assumes the responsibility of set-up, configuration, ongoing maintenance and monitoring the physical environment.
Managing this dual infrastructure is as simple as switching between primary and secondary DR sites from a centralised interface, which represents a huge plus for organisations. Even major corporations can derive time savings.
Having a single backup copy of data is never sufficient. Businesses need a copy they can access immediately on-site, and at least one more copy at an offsite location. A hybrid cloud helps to strengthen a data protection strategy by providing that secondary backup destination.
Businesses without access to another facility can use the public cloud as their location for offsite backups. Since cloud storage is often cheaper than traditional storage, using it as a backup target might represent the ideal option.
When it comes to compliance standards, hosting sensitive data in the public cloud is risky. Rules and regulations regarding who has access to information, and how long it is retained, mean the business must remain cautious about involving a third party.
Hybrid cloud offers a compromise by enabling a business to replicate and encrypt data in its own private network before sending it to the recovery site. In a properly managed environment, meeting both business continuity needs and compliance requirements is much easier.
Organisations need their essential IT infrastructure components to grow along with their business. A DR solution is no exception. In a traditional environment, outgrowing a server requires a business to buy, install and manage new hardware. In a cloud scenario, it is able to tap into a bottomless capacity and scale up on an as-needed basis.
This virtually limitless scalability enables an organisation to deploy countless virtual servers and even operate multiple recovery sites if conditions demand it.
The hybrid cloud is rapidly changing the way enterprises approach disaster recovery. They are able to use the public cloud as a both a backup destination and fully functioning offsite location — all while retaining a comfortable level of control from their own private network.
There are challenges that may affect security and recovery times, but if businesses have a plan that addresses data protection, recovery objectives and other concerns, they can tilt the balance in their favour to ensure that positives outweigh the negatives.
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