Disaster Recovery (DR) has become a hot topic in the world of IT and Node4 has seen a huge increase in demand for DR services over the last few years. That could mean do it yourself Colocation solutions though to fully managed cloud based DR. For businesses that have existing virtualised infrastructure it’s become easier than ever to produce a cost effective DR/Business Continuity plan for IT services.
Node4’s Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) product allows customers with an existing virtualised server estate, either on premise or in a Data Centre, to simply push DR out to the cloud. Using our existing enterprise class cloud platforms it’s possible for a customer’s environment to be replicated to a remote cloud location with minimal additional infrastructure requirements and a predominately OPEX pricing model. The large CAPEX spend usually associated with DR is eliminated and when combined with a usage-based monthly billing model, a business no longer needs to spend a large amount of capital on a solution it will (hopefully) never use.
The technology itself allows for some really low Recovery Point Objectives (RPO). In many cases this can be down to seconds – depending of course on a particular workload and its associated infrastructure. A low RPO and a Service Level Agreement (SLA) based Recovery Time Objective (RTO) makes DRaaS a compelling argument for inclusion into a company’s Business Continuity plan. Furthermore, any DR plan worth its salt includes periodic DR tests. DRaaS enables customers to perform a “DR dress rehearsal” at the flick of a switch by failing over its protected services to a cloud based sandbox area that leaves a production environment unaffected.
Working in pre-sales, I’m often sat in front of a potential customer discussing the above merits of the DRaaS solution. Its benefits are obvious: easy setup, reduced monthly costs, no large CAPEX, low RPO & RTOs.
What’s not to like, I hear you ask? Well on the face of it not much, but there is one caveat with all this… I often find myself saying that “replicating the virtual environment is the easy bit.” The challenge for the end user is how they utilise a protected environment in a DR scenario. Imagine this; one day you arrive at head office and it’s nothing more than a smoking crater (an extreme example I know). The good news is that all your virtual services are protected at a Node4 cloud Data Centre. So, you pick up the phone and trigger a failover – minutes later your critical IT services are up and running, but how do you get to them?
This is the true challenge of DR and a business needs to think about what happens after the DR environment is initiated. Of course there are many technology options to help facilitate that part of the DR plan; a few examples would be: diverse site connectivity, client VPN, cloud based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Global Server Load Balancing. All of these potential solutions have their merits and drawbacks, but the key point is that unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to DR.