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August 16, 2021 | Brian Anderson

Is Disaster Recovery in the Cloud Better?

Is your disaster recovery solution ready for when disaster strikes? Disaster recovery in the cloud delivers advantages for many organizations compared to physical disaster recovery and backup technologies in a data center. In general, cloud-based DR delivers more reliable, faster, and more cost-effective recoveries.

For many of the reasons that cloud computing has grown in popularity, so too has the popularity of disaster recovery in the cloud. In fact, for many businesses, implementing disaster recovery in the cloud can provide an important step toward cloud migration – because data movers are a multi-use tool for IT. 

What is disaster recovery in the cloud?

Putting a mirror image of a production site on a second set of hardware in a data center was once a common disaster recovery technique. Now, such mirror images are often hosted in private or public clouds, ready to run on virtual machines at a moment’s notice.

Cloud-based disaster recovery as a service, or Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), is built to address the security and compliance needs of companies and to deliver quicker recovery of data and applications with less data loss than traditional IT disaster recovery.

DRaaS can compress traditional disaster recovery processes from days to minutes. With DRaaS, primary DR sites are replicated to the cloud, so data servers and applications can be restored as needed. As data changes at the primary site, the recovery site is updated to match.

Automation and orchestration allow for almost instantaneous failover to one or more clouds. When the primary site fails, control can rapidly switch to the secondary cloud site. When the outage is resolved, the primary site can regain control through a process called failback that ensures data stays current.

Virtual machines deliver recovery like a hot site, with much less overhead. Unlike cold sites and warm sites that take extensive engineering support and time to become functional, disaster recovery in the cloud can failover in minutes. Plus, maintaining and upgrading virtual machines is simpler than with physical hardware. Cloud-based storage doesn’t degrade like tapes and other media.

Cloud disaster recovery simplifies recovery for your IT staff, who won’t need to recover systems manually step-by-step during a high-stress outage. Instead, you set up automated failover, or place a single call to your DRaaS provider to say, “We need to recover.”

Types of DRaaS

Your primary site may be in a physical data center or in a private cloud, public cloud, or multicloud. Cloud-based recovery is a good choice for environments as wide-ranging as hybrid and multicloud. What’s more, if your production site is in a cloud, then disaster recovery in the same type of cloud offers additional advantages by allowing you to use the same security and compliance methods as your primary site.

The three main types of disaster recovery in the cloud differ by type of production environment. All of them can deliver near-zero data loss and fast failover with DRaaS. They include:

Cloud-to-cloud recovery

Powered by solutions such as Zerto’s IT Resiliency Platform and VMware’s vCloud Availability, a hypervisor manages replication to protect a virtualized production environment in a private or public cloud.

Hybrid cloud disaster recovery

Powered by a solution such as Azure Site Recovery (ASR), a cloud or hybrid environment is replicated and recovered to a cloud service such as Microsoft Azure. 

Server-to-cloud recovery

This type of disaster recovery in the cloud protects non-virtualized physical servers – including IBM, Oracle, and UNIX servers and mainframes – and multiple types of virtual servers, such as Hyper-V and VMware. 

How DRaaS manages replication

DRaaS replicates primary sites to the cloud, so your environment can be restored as needed when disaster strikes. When data is changed in the primary site, the recovery site also reflects those changes. 

Depending on how applications are tiered, some organizations might use multiple types of replication. Here are the three key types of replication, along with their pros and cons. 

Synchronous replication

Synchronous replication offers the shortest recovery point objective. Data is written to multiple sites at the same time, so the data remains current everywhere. It can be more costly and sensitive to latency, so it requires the sites to be closer to each other. 

Asynchronous replication

Asynchronous replication is often the preferred replication type. Data is written to the primary storage array first and copied to replication targets in real-time or at scheduled intervals. Asynchronous replication requires less bandwidth, is less expensive, and works over larger distances. 

Backup services

This type of replication limits data loss but doesn’t enable the best recovery. Data is archived and stored. This is only recommended for recovering non-critical data. Backup services include cloud storage/backup services and other online backup services, remote file backup, and local tape or disk backup. Backup as a Service (BaaS) offers the best protection from data loss. 

Cloud disaster recovery vs. cloud backup and Backup as a Service (BaaS)

The main difference between disaster recovery and a backup is that a backup only stores the data – without the IT infrastructure and applications that are necessary to make use of the data. Security of backup data has always been an issue. Backing up data in the cloud can better secure the data in motion and off-site storage than a physical drive, disks or tapes. 

Backups are known for being inadequate for businesses that need a short recovery time objective and minimal data loss. A nightly backup can result in the loss of a day’s worth of data. Although backups aren’t an effective recovery option, they are good for data retention and archives. Learn how backup and DRaaS can work together. 

Backup as a Services (BaaS) allows you to backup cloud, hybrid, and on-premises data to a private or public cloud. BaaS can improve security and reduce backup storage volume with deduplication and compression. An example of a BaaS solution is Veeam Cloud Connect. 

Cloud disaster recovery vs. cloud backup and Backup as a Service (BaaS)

Also read: 3 RTO and RPO Considerations for Your Disaster Recovery Plan 

Find the best disaster recovery solution for your business

Your business is different from every other business and your disaster recovery plan needs to be customized to fit the goals of your business and your specific IT environment. Many of TierPoint clients find DRaaS can offer ROI in addition to its role as insurance against an outage or disaster. Beyond business continuity, for example, the replication and recovery infrastructure provided by DRaaS can also enable your safe and secure cloud migration, improve the rate of security patching and help mitigate losses due to cyber-attacks such as ransomware. 

As a DRaaS provider, TierPoint helps organizations plan for and limit the impact of interruptions to data, application, and infrastructure – in natural disasters, cyber disasters, cloud migration, and routine maintenance and security management.  

We’ll meet you where you are in your digital transformation journey, including any combination of public cloud providers, managed services, a fully-managed TierPoint private cloud, colocation, and on-premises solutions. Contact us to learn how TierPoint can help strengthen your DR plan and strategy. 

The Strategic Guide to Disaster Recovery and DRaaS | Read now...

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