Leveraging Cloud for High Availability, Backup and Disaster Recovery

Sri Narayanan | Nov. 21, 2017
Businesses cannot tolerate downtime


In today's digital era, data is the lifeblood of every business. Irrespective of your industry, data availability, protection, and recoverability have become absolutely essential.

Yet, data loss is costing organisations US$1.7 trillion annually.

Your organisation's data should be treated like any other significant asset. You need to take care of it, keep it secure and know how to get the very best from it.

How you collect, manage, store and retrieve data becomes critical.

Traditional approaches to backing up data just don't measure up, especially when 80% of data in organisations today are unstructured. Backup replication moves your data offsite, but it can be expensive and difficult to manage. 

Is there an alternative?


Addressing this challenge, CIO Asia in partnership with IBM hosted CIOs and IT leaders to an executive lunch cum discussion on 31st October 2017 at the Ruth Chris Steak Restaurant, Marina Mandarin Hotel. A panel of experts provided insights on how organisations could rapidly and efficiently leverage the cloud as a destination for high availability, backup, archiving and disaster recovery.


Businesses cannot tolerate downtime

In her opening remarks, Ms Mijee Briana Walker, Resiliency Services Leader, GTS IBM Corporation, spoke on how organisations could leverage the cloud as their trusted partners in backing up data and disaster recovery.

"In the biz environment, we expect our IT systems to always be available with no downtime. That's becoming harder because of the increasing threats from cyber attacks and the physical environment including floods, etc. The cloud offers an opportunity to make our businesses more resilient when things go wrong because you can't predict when you need to be resilient."

Mijee Briana Walker


Walker observed that while tape backup have proven their worth in the past, they have not been very efficient but with more companies adopting hybrid cloud architecture, there is an opportunity to transform how businesses perform backups and plan for disaster recovery.

She noted that while hybrid clouds offered enterprises agility and flexibility plus a higher ROI than traditional or all cloud environments, it has also increased complexity, in particular for managing backup and resiliency-across all providers.


Disaster Recovery in a VMware environment

Disaster recovery (DR) and data protection are the most critical challenges when deploying tier-one applications on a virtual infrastructure.

According to Simon Stockburger, Asia Cloud Enthusiast, VMware and OpenStack Expert, IBM Asia Pacific, the primary driver to adopt a cloud-based disaster recovery strategy for your VMware workloads is that companies don't have to concern themselves with re-architecting their IT environments or reskilling personnel.

Simon Stockburger


Said Stockburger, "In most cases, businesses protect and backup only about 30 percent of applications because it is too expensive to manage the rest. This means many of the critical systems will lack resiliency in the event of an attack or other disaster. But what if you could backup 99 percent of your critical applications and increase the data availability SLAs across the enterprise? What if you could do this 75 percent cheaper than conventional back and DR approaches on premises?"

He added that deploying IBM's Backup-As-A-Service cloud services would help companies replicate VMware workloads into IBM's Bluemix Infrastructure, which provides disaster recovery for VMware applications with stringent recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) at a far lower cost.


Hybrid Cloud Storage Strategies

How can you rapidly and efficiently replicate your backup data between sites while minimizing costs and impact to backup operations?

Speaking to next generation backup strategies, Gajun Ganendran, Asia Pacific Ecosystem Leader for Cloud Object Storage, IBM, stressed that companies have an obligation to store data long term for regulatory, legal, and business reasons, and there is a long-standing requirement that data is protected and secure.

Gajun Ganendran


They need to protect their data from the failure of an entire site, including the backup data. A single backup copy of data is insufficient to meet these requirements.

Though tape backups can be part of an overarching backup replication strategy, companies have to consider the TCO and backward compatibility. Aside from data loss of media degeneration over several years, there is concern about associated tape backup costs including cleaning, testing and migration.

One solution is to adopt a Cloud Object Storage approach that would provide scalability, cost efficiency and flexibility in replicating business data for recovery and backup. Cloud Object Storage such as IBM Cloud Object Storage is very efficient, built for scale and stores not only data but also metadata, enabling useful, essential context when it is retrieved later.