Jan 6, 2015
The cloud has been a buzzword among IT and technology circles for a number of years now, but the concept is only recently gaining real traction on the business side of organizations.
Last year, research from Gartner predicted cloud-computing growth would become the biggest area of new IT spend by 2016. In addition, the firm said nearly half of large organizations will use a hybrid cloud model by the end of 2017.
Disaster recovery is one crucial function that cloud services are already having a major impact upon, with many companies attracted to the notion of having cost-effective and flexible business continuity solutions.
The benefits of cloud DR
There are a number of benefits of using the cloud for DR recovery. These include:
Furthermore, service providers are addressing a number of areas of the cloud that have traditionally caused concern for some businesses, including security.
Anton Els, product manager and architect at Dbvisit, says firms such as Amazon Web Services realize the importance of protecting client data.
"Cloud providers know they have to get security right, as for most businesses their data is critical and they will not host their information with a third party unless sophisticated measures are in place," he explains.
"There will always be a risk with security, but many providers are spending a lot of time and money on getting it right."
Cloud DR challenges
As more companies contemplate the shift toward DR in the cloud, the market will need to adapt to various trends that are likely to crop up in the future.
Network connectivity is an important issue, particularly as organizations are generating increasingly large quantities of data every year. Transferring this information to a cloud DR location takes time, although infrastructure and speeds are improving rapidly.
According to Anton, organizations must also consider what will happen to their applications in the event of a disaster and whether or not they have systems in place to take over.
"Many businesses protect their database - they may implement standby databases in the cloud or a secondary data center. However, they often forget to host application servers in the cloud," he explains.
"Unfortunately, they've just thought about the data and not the surrounding environments."
Cloud DR provides significant advantages for organizations that want a cost-effective, low maintenance recovery site for when disasters strike.
Despite this, businesses are unlikely to move all their business continuity functions into the cloud immediately. Initially, companies will experiment with hybrid solutions.
"DR sites are becoming more and more important and cloud providers are going to see more people turn to them for this purpose," Anton comments.
"At first, this will be in the hybrid realm because people still prefer to have their data close by on the premises."
There are also regulatory concerns, with some countries having specific laws over how data is stored and handled. However, this is becoming less of a problem as cloud providers continue to set up offices in nations worldwide.
"As a backup measure, a cloud provider in a secondary geographic location makes perfect sense. That's where DR services are going to pick up - it's going to get much busier," Anton concludes.