Disaster Recovery in a Cloud-Centric World
The face of enterprise IT deployments is evolving rapidly as technology and business become inextricably interwoven today, spurred by a hypercompetitive business climate and accelerating pace of operations around the globe.
From digital transformation plans to customer-centric initiatives, the status quo is being upended by an urgency to deliver the agile and scalable infrastructure that forward-thinking organisations need to drive new digital capabilities and service innovations.
A brief history of the cloud
One obvious strategy involves buying into the public cloud, which offers rapid scalability without the hefty upfront investments of traditional IT infrastructure. This has since morphed into sprawling multi-cloud deployments as businesses cherry-pick the most relevant cloud services for their requirements, as well as hedging their deployments on more than one public cloud platform for diversity.
A pure cloud strategy is not adequate, though, as a plethora of considerations such as performance, control, compliance, data sovereignty, and legacy systems compel enterprises to continue investing or even expand their on-premises deployments. Unsurprisingly, IT departments are tasked to integrate new cloud deployments with these systems as part of a cohesive hybrid cloud deployment.
To tie everything together, enterprises are turning to cutting-edge software-defined networking for simplified control and management over scores or even hundreds of virtual network pipes. They are also turning to dense, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) that can be configured from a central console to build flexible, powerful private cloud systems within the protected confines of their colocation environments.
Yet all these neglects the disaster recovery aspect of the increasingly complex hybrid deployments. And going by the sporadic but seemingly inescapable outages experienced by the top public cloud providers, businesses are realising that the cloud isn’t an automatic guarantee of uptime – and that the onus is on them to prepare for the worst.
Cloud disaster recovery
Typical business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) plans were predicated around the concept of high availability (HA) hardware and a geographically separate data centre deployment. Unfortunately, this falls flat – or becomes extremely difficult to properly engineer – when faced with complex hybrid cloud deployments which see on-premises systems paired with one or more cloud deployments with fluid configurations.
Indeed, analyst firm IDC called the future of disaster recovery “dead”  given how quickly hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments are becoming the norm. Rather than trying to establish HA and disaster recovery infrastructure the old way, IDC argues that enterprises should focus instead on the bigger picture and architect their systems around the concept of application availability.
This is easier said than done, however. A comprehensive IT transformation around application availability requires a thorough understanding of not only existing enterprise systems and services, but a deep appreciation of the top cloud solutions and their limitations. Their expertise must span deployments from private to public cloud platforms, and across virtualised and containerised workloads – all of which must be centrally managed or orchestrated for optimal flexibility.
Same partners, a new strategy
Thankfully, providers have risen to the challenge with solutions that make it easy to test and deploy reliable applications regardless of whether they sit at the enterprise core, or at the edge. Armed with a self-healing architecture, enterprises can focus on engineering applications that are resilient by virtue of being anchored in robust storage and which is protected by advanced data replication capabilities.
Elsewhere, a competent managed service provider can provide the requisite technical expertise without the overheads of hiring an expensive multidisciplinary team or the delays of waiting for technical training initiatives to bear fruits. Crucially, they can also offer disaster recover-as-a-service (DRaaS) to give enterprises the option of a work area equipped with ready workstations for disaster recovery work.
By working with the right partners, enterprises can hence focus on building a new generation of applications designed for extreme reliability without the need to reinvent the wheel. And because everything is built on a cloud-centric platform, they can be seamlessly scaled without the need to go back to the drawing board.
Working together for success
Of course, choosing the right colocation partner for your data centre deployment is the vital linchpin in the context of our hybrid, multi-cloud environments. A reliable partner can provide the dependable colocation base from which to anchor modern hybrid cloud deployments, whether in terms of high-density private cloud deployments or on-premises systems such as mainframes or traditional x86 servers.
And while software-defined technologies can doubtlessly simplify network configuration and enhance uptime, they don’t address inherent network considerations such as cost and latency. This is where the presence of ample connectivity choices found in carrier-neutral facilities can help tilt the balance by offering more choices to better match your requirements.
The road to a successful cloud-centric deployment requires some planning and diligence in execution. But with the right strategy, IT providers and colocation partner, enterprises can certainly establish the resilient and flexible infrastructure they need to come out ahead of their competitors.