Disaster Recovery and the Cloud: A Match Made in Heaven?
October 31, 2011 2 Comments
- High-profile outages, apprehension about data security, and compliance questions make many enterprises wary about moving mission-critical workloads to the cloud.
- Yet, the flexibility, efficiency, and geographically dispersed nature of the cloud may make it a cost-effective disaster recovery/business continuity option for organizations, large and small.
There is more than a little push/pull element to the cloud. Businesses are drawn to the flexibility, lower cost, and simplicity which the on-demand model promises. However, there is enough mystery in the cloud to raise questions about security, as well as enough headline-making outages to put up red flags about stability. Incidents such as Amazon Web Services’ twin outages this past summer, which impacted both small customers and marquee businesses such as Netflix, make customers of all sizes wary about the cloud.
Yet, for many businesses, the cloud does work. Every day, millions tap into the model to streamline communications, increase productivity, and cut costs. Ease of use, quick provisioning, and attractive pricing drown out nagging questions about reliability and security. That said, organizations remain cautious about what kind of workloads they put in the cloud. Non-core applications such as messaging and secondary storage are obvious candidates; mission-critical decision applications, not so much.
There are interesting exceptions. Some businesses are coming to see that one of the more compelling use cases for the cloud is to support business continuity and disaster recovery. The virtual, geographically distributed nature of the cloud model makes it ‘a natural’ to play a role backing up and restoring critical services. At a recent customer event focused on disaster recovery, AT&T promoted the cloud as a solid and very cost-effective option for both large, highly-distributed enterprise customers and smaller businesses that previously may have gone without an adequate disaster recovery solution.
AT&T is certainly not alone in promoting the cloud for disaster recovery. Other providers and their customers are seizing the opportunity to use the cloud as a cheaper alternative to more standard back-up solutions, and in doing so, hoping to attract new prospects. What do you think? Would you trust the cloud for disaster recovery?