What’s Missing From Most Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery? Network Replication

October 30, 2011
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I’ve written several blog posts on how cloud computing changes disaster recovery. One of the most significant advantages to cloud computing is how it makes disaster recovery more cost-effective and lowers the bar for deploying comprehensive DR plans across a company’s entire IT infrastructure. Cloud computing delivers faster recovery times and multi-site availability at a fraction of the cost of conventional disaster recovery.

I’ve written several blog posts on how cloud computing changes disaster recovery. One of the most significant advantages to cloud computing is how it makes disaster recovery more cost-effective and lowers the bar for deploying comprehensive DR plans across a company’s entire IT infrastructure. Cloud computing delivers faster recovery times and multi-site availability at a fraction of the cost of conventional disaster recovery.

Apparently, we’re not the only company seeing the benefits for cloud-based DR. There have been several recent announcements of cloud-based DR – where you can ship a copy of your virtual server image offsite to be run in a cloud server should you declare a disaster.

Nice approach if you’re trying to replicate a single stand-alone server.  But what’s missing from these server replication models for DR?

For most enterprise or more complex server configurations, the network configuration, firewall rules, VLANs and VPNs are a critical part of the infrastructure that needs to be recovered in a disaster.

Recovering a replicated cloud server is great leap forward. It removes a ton of work from reinstalling the operating system, applications, patches and data on a new server, and gets the server up and running quickly by turning on the replicated cloud server.

But without replicating the entire network and security configuration, the solution falls short. Before the recovery site can go live, the network configuration needs to be fully replicated at the DR site. This means that copies of the VLAN configuration, firewall rules, and VPN configurations all need to be available and put in place before the DR site can go live.

Rapid recovery time objectives (RTOs) can only be achieved if the entire server and network infrastructure are replicated at the DR site and stay in lockstep with the production site as configuration changes are made.

At Online Tech, we’ve spent a lot of time developing a solution we call DR Now!  DR Now! replicates the entire hosted cloud, including servers, software, network and security to a separate offsite disaster recovery cloud without any programming or special configuration. We can do this because we manage the production cloud servers and DR cloud servers at both sites.

So when you’re considering the benefits of cloud computing for disaster recovery, keep in mind that DR is not just about replicating the cloud server between data center sites. It requires careful consideration on how the entire compute infrastructure is replicated between data centers – including the entire network and security configuration.

For more resources on this topic, read our E-Tip, Benefits of Disaster Recovery in Cloud Computing.