Disaster recovery in the cloud
Cloud computing makes disaster recovery (DR) more cost-effective and lowers the bar for enterprises to deploy comprehensive DR plans.
So says Graham Vorster, head of emerging technologies and alliances at T-Systems in SA.
"Depending on the implementation of the source systems, DR into the cloud can be as easy as replicating log files onto a database instance with low processing capability, which scales up in the event of a disaster. More complex solutions do require more work, but most requirements can be satisfied," says Vorster.
"Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other entire company systems are mirrored in the cloud for enhanced redundancy and recovery capability," he adds.
He cites data availability, bandwidth issues and the high cost of data as stumbling stones to cloud computing adoption in SA.
However, according to Vorster, with many initiatives in place to deliver more available, more affordable bandwidth, the cloud is becoming increasingly viable and is beginning to make solid business sense for customers.
Despite barriers to entry being steadily removed, Vorster believes some customers are going to take years to get into the cloud because of their own infrastructure issues. However, there is a need to incorporate good governance, and compliance is driving the push for cloud computing and disaster recovery management.
For auditors, having tape-based backups simply is no longer sufficient, says Vorster. "These backups are time-consuming at best, meaning that, in the event of a disaster, companies could take weeks to get back up and running. In today's fast-paced business world, this could mean that they never fully recover, and fail completely. Tape-based backup does not deliver the comprehensive data recovery strategy that cloud solutions are able to."
Bringing DR strategies in-house is costly for companies and building this infrastructure is sometimes not financially viable. While organisations need to include DR into their backup strategies, cost reduction and flexibility is essential. In light of these challenges, the need for DR is practically forcing companies to look at cloud computing as an option.
Incorporating DR as part of a cloud initiative means the organisation can reduce its power usage and the processing required in a shared environment means organisations do not require a vast amount of infrastructure, notes Vorster.
"The bonus of course is that enterprises only pay for what they use, offering enhanced flexibility and scalability to grow with the organisation as needs require. This is a model that most companies find very attractive in these tough economic times," he says.
"While organisations in SA may have been slow to adopt cloud services, in the long run, DR in the cloud is going to be a very cost-effective way of reaching compliance and governance goals," Vorster concludes.