I read an article where Steve Wozniak talked about the concerns he has with cloud computing. He does raise really good points about the fact that you completely trust your data to someone else.
Additionally, it is not uncommon these days for the data itself to be the most valuable asset a company possesses so the idea of not controlling that data behind your own firewall isn’t that attractive to the business ownership or the IT department.
It’s really unclear the percentages of companies that are willing to allow someone else to house their most valuable assets, but I suspect that Wozniak speaks for the majority of business owners and managers right now.
Just Win, Baby
American Football team owner Al Davis was famous for his motto “Just win, baby”.
So what cloud services needs are consistent wins. As a cloud service provider, one of the biggest, most consistent wins can be with Disaster Recovery (DR). Disaster recovery solutions are a perfect use case for cloud computing.
Here are a few thoughts to why I think DR to the Cloud may be the best first solution for companies wishing to leverage cloud computing.
- It addresses the Wozniak concern: Your company maintains control of the data at your privately-owned primary site. You are just replicating a copy to the cloud to use in case of emergency.
- You control your own Service Level Agreements: The regular production uptime at the Primary site is still under your company’s control on your own servers, maintained by your team meeting your Service Level Agreements (SLA).
- Cloud-based DR can save you money: DR to the Cloud is like an insurance policy and hopefully you never have to fail your production over to the disaster recovery site. Since most cloud-based solution models are paid by the usage of the equipment and assets, the relative cost for maintaining a cloud-based disaster recovery site should offer significant savings over privately hosted DR sites.
- No storage arrays needed: A real constraint historically for virtualized cloud-based DR has been a cost prohibitive requirement of array-based replication. Now with small business targeted basic host-based replication in VMware SRM vSphere Replication or the much more capable enterprise grade host-based replication DR from Zerto, array-based replication is no longer required. In fact, shared storage isn’t even required with host-based replication.
- The DR site can be anywhere: With host-based replication and a cloud provider with multiple locations, you can have your DR set up in a one-to-many configuration where you can choose what region to recover the server.
- It allows for the learning curve: Cloud computing has a great deal of new IT logistics and processes that have to be blended into a hybrid solution. If a totally cloud hosted service is ultimately desired by the business, it allows time for the business management to learn how to deal with external vendors hosting their IT assets while not impacting the production environment.
- Testing recovery reliability: Businesses can measure reliability while developing their DR run books by performing failovers and failbacks on test or lower-tier servers.
Apparently, DR to the Cloud service providers see things similarly to the way I do since Zerto recently announced they had over 30 cloud providers sign up to their new host-based replication Zerto DR to the Cloud solution.
I’ve Seen This Movie Before
I’ve seen this happen before with virtualization itself and cloud computing can take a similar adoption path.
For years, virtualization was only performed for the “low hanging fruit” servers. Even if a server failed because of configuration or other issues, they weren’t high profile, mission-critical server failures that was blamed on virtualization.
Just as importantly, it gave time for the physical server administrators to learn and to catch up to virtualization’s capabilities. That created an environment where virtualization produced constant wins for the IT organization.
Even though DR is far from low hanging fruit, the idea is the same. You don’t impact Production services while building out your DR.
DR to the cloud is the perfect way to build confidence in cloud-based solutions for businesses and over time can help companies discover other areas where cloud solutions fit in their company.
Photo credits: http://wikipedia.com