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Cloud computing causing rethinking of disaster recovery

John Dix | July 31, 2013
Cloud computing gives organizations the opportunity to rethink many traditional IT practices, but it may be a particularly good fit for disaster recovery and business continuity.

What are the expectations of cloud?  Is it easier to set up, faster to implement, less expensive?
There are some cost implications because remember, we're using a cloud in a shared environment, as opposed to a customer having a dedicated technology sitting on their floor. So for some it's a matter of OPEX vs. CAPEX, with OPEX may be a little more attractive to the customer. But, frankly cost is only a small part of it. Companies are looking at flexibility. The flexibility to test more frequently and the ability to scale up or to scale down if needed. Those are the kinds of reasons clients are trying to introduce cloud into their environment.

Mostly we've been talking about backing up on-premise resources, but what if I'm already using a bunch of cloud services?  Is there a role for a centralized cloud-based service to back up both premise and other cloud services?  
We have been approached by companies who are using other cloud providers and they've asked if we can be the backup provider for that cloud data because they want to be assured they have their data in a safe and secure location regardless of what should happen. They look at us and say, "OK. You are BCRS. You've been around 50 years. You have over 160 resiliency centers around the world. You're in 70-odd countries. I need a company that's where I am, because data may not be able to leave the borders of certain countries. You've got the knowledge. You've done this before. Can you help me do it? If possible, we try to help to meet their needs."  

OK.  So a company that wants to start evaluating the options here, where do they start? What questions should they ask themselves?
We actually have a consulting service we provide called SmartCloud Resiliency Transformation, where we sit down with the customer and say OK, what have you done so far?  Do you have any kind of a backup and recovery service today? What's the current strategy and architecture look like? Have you evaluated your applications? What are your processes? What are your applications? What is your technology? We start there and then start to look at the potential cloud capabilities they could harness.

Are there many instances where cloud doesn't make sense?  
There are times when it may not make sense. If you've got some high transaction oriented applications that are not going to respond well to being in a cloud, it may not work. However, it still makes sense for, say, backing up data. Because all you're doing is backing up the data and recovering it. So I'm hesitant to say there are specific examples that it won't work until we take a look at it.


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