Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2013. Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.
Contributed article by Shannon Snowden, Sr. Technical Marketing Architect, Zerto
2013 is the Year of 'Disaster Recovery to the Cloud'
Disaster Recovery (DR)
to the Cloud will be the top reason Enterprises will adopt a public or hybrid
Cloud solution in 2013.
‘Something Something as a cloud Service' (SSaaS) has been a
buzz phrase for a few years. But the reality is transforming applications to be
cloud hosted is a long-term undertaking that is competing with existing solutions
that work well enough today in the Enterprise. I don't think something is going
to pop up that will make Enterprises jump into the cloud in 2013. There may be
pockets of adoption, but nothing wide-spread from an Enterprise perspective -
with one exception.
The one exception to that prediction is DR as a Service
(DRaaS). What I have seen that actually works very well today is DR to the
Cloud. The technology is available and proven
to be very reliable.
Now I believe it's a matter of awareness building to a wider
audience that production-ready Cloud providers exist that are successfully
operating as both sites, a second site or hybrid site for Enterprises in
sectors such as communications, financial, healthcare and manufacturing.
Learning from history
can help predict the future
History shows us that organizations wanted virtualization
for all the cost savings and portability benefits, but it needed time to become
a proven reliable solution. It certainly did prove to be very reliable and now
the most business-critical applications are virtualized.
The obvious next step would be to build on the hardware
abstraction and portability that virtualization offers and leverage it for
disaster recovery to a remote site or multiple sites. There also certainly is a
desire from many organizations to use a cloud provider for their DR site
because of the signification cost savings of not needing a second datacenter.
However, this hasn't really had a widespread rate of adoption yet.
A brief analysis shows that something was wrong with the
solution being offered.
Components Needed for
DR to the Cloud Success
Let's review what service providers must have in place to
offer an attractive DR to the Cloud solution.
agnostic: hypervisor-based replication can replicate from any storage to
any storage between sites, increasing efficiencies and lowering the TCO.
at the production site as well as the replication site. Today, BC/ DR solutions
include features throughout the information chain to secure them - meeting high
standards for enterprise-class, mission critical applications. User
authentication, communication to the virtualization appliance, networking and
port configuration, network encryption and stronger roles and permissions
granting are all in place in today's clouds, making them more secure targets
for application replication than many private enterprise datacenters.
Complex management issues are introduced when replicating multiple tenants to a
single cloud. When replicating from separate company sites to one Cloud
Provider site, redundant hardware and management software is required at the
replication target. In many cases, this redundancy takes away the flexibility
and scalability the cloud offers.
capable: CSPs have customers in different locations and multiple data
centers serving them. If the solution cannot support bi-directional replication
across multiple sites, the CSP cannot offer the service. Today, Cloud DR
solution providers offer multi-directional replication across as many sites as
the infrastructure requires.
with cloud management platforms: Many CSPs deploy customized cloud
management platforms and require BC/DR to be managed, provisioned and automated
through these platforms. This requires tedious integration support between the
two. Cloud Service Providers can now report and act on all of their customer
environments from a central console, including initiating automated failovers
and failover testing. There is no need for manual correlation of activities
across the environment.
recovery Service Level Agreements (SLA): Replication solutions need to be
able to support mission-critical applications with Recovery Time Objectives
(RTO) of minutes and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) of seconds, as well as
other applications with less aggressive recovery needs. Whether a few VMs or
thousands, new solutions can scale to effectively support mission critical
applications, and have extremely short RTOs and RPOs.
Historically, cloud providers were missing several of these
pieces, so the adoption rate of any DR as a Service was very low.
If you build it, they
But that has changed. Over the past year, we've had the
pleasure of working with many cloud providers that have adopted the
technologies and processes to meet the above requirements and we have enabled many
successful production deployments with Enterprise customers being protected.
We have so many production stories of businesses getting
real value out of DR to the Cloud that are similar to this example below.
During Hurricane Sandy, Zerto
customer Affigent LLC, a Herndon, VA-based technology consulting firm, used a
cloud DR solution provided by Integrity Virtual IT (an IT outsourcing company
in Silver Spring, MD) to protect its business critical CRM and ERP applications.
When they were certain the hurricane was in the path of their primary
datacenter, they failed over their VMs to a second datacenter that was out of
the storm's path. Affigent continued to fully operate without any data loss in
the secondary datacenter until the storm passed. They migrated back to the primary datacenter when
they were certain the primary datacenter was ready. Affigent was able to
conduct business during the storm without interruption, utilizing their
tier-one applications running in Integrity Virtual IT's cloud recovery site.
We've seen our customers and partners become very
comfortable with using the cloud for DR and seeing their tier-one applications
running in the cloud for recovery purposes. In time, these companies already
comfortable running applications in the cloud for DR purposes, will permanently
migrate more and more operations to cloud environments.
These customers now know that moving or failing over their
mission-critical VMs and applications in the cloud is not a futuristic
prediction predicated on something that needs developed in order to exist. They've already done it, and they're quite
likely to do so again.
It reminds me of several years ago when virtualization
finally hit the tipping point from being deployed in test labs only as a proof
of concept to being deployed as a trusted solution into production.
DR to the Cloud is at that tipping point. As more
Enterprises consider and actually try DR to the Cloud, I think it will become
the top reason they decide to leverage cloud services.