According to an IDG Research survey, 56% of the enterprise IT executives polled said that a hybrid cloud architecture improves their disaster recovery capabilities. Hybrid clouds offer the best-of-breed of both private and public cloud architectures, while allowing IT to leverage their existing investments and maintain control.
By combining the core functions of a public cloud and a privately managed infrastructure, hybrid cloud combines the core functions of both in one package. Organisations benefit from an integrated IT environment that delivers a better user experience, increased resiliency and greater flexibility.
This flexibility enables the hybrid cloud to accommodate a wide range of applications, including backup and disaster recovery (DR). The benefits of such mixed infrastructures are substantial.
Traditionally a complete disaster recovery solution has been complex and expensive to deploy. Ideally, an organisation has two locations: a primary data centre and a separate location that supports the operation should the main site fail.
But maintaining this type of environment is cost prohibitive, hence secondary sites are mostly deployed by larger companies with deep pockets and fully staffed IT departments. Resources including server hardware, storage devices, bandwidth, and manpower are required to run two locations, and the bigger the workloads, the bigger the demand.
Contrast that with a flexible pay-as-you-go pricing model of the cloud, and DR goes from cost prohibitive to cost effective. With no need to pour excess funds into physical resources, smaller businesses can spend their IT budgets in ways that were previously impossible.
The instant availability of built-in Windows tools such as Hyper-V Replica and various SaaS-based applications allows network managers to replicate data to the cloud and manage DR operations without buying additional licences. Getting the secondary site up and running is easier and more affordable.
DR also benefits from the simplicity of a hybrid cloud setup. When partnering with a cloud service provider, the vendor assumes the responsibility of setup, configuration, ongoing maintenance, and monitoring the physical environment.
Managing this dual infrastructure is as simple as switching between primary and secondary DR sites from a centralised interface, which represents a huge plus for organisations. Even major corporations can derive time savings.
Having a single backup copy of data is never sufficient. Businesses need a copy they can access immediately onsite, and at least one more copy at an offsite location. A hybrid cloud helps to strengthen a data protection strategy by providing that secondary backup destination.
Businesses without access to another facility can use the public cloud as their location for offsite backups. Since cloud storage is often cheaper than traditional storage, using it as a backup target might represent the ideal option.
When it comes to compliance standards, hosting sensitive data in the public cloud is risky. Rules and regulations surrounding who has access to information and how long it is retained mean the business has to remain cautious about involving a third party.
The hybrid cloud offers a compromise by allowing a business to replicate and encrypt data in its own private network before sending it to the recovery site. In a properly managed environment, meeting both business continuity needs and compliance requirements is much easier.
Organisations need their essential IT infrastructure components to grow along with their business. A DR solution is no exception. In a traditional environment, outgrowing a server requires a business to buy, install and manage new hardware. In a cloud scenario, they are able to tap into a bottomless capacity and scale up on an as-needed basis.
This virtually limitless scalability allows an organisation to deploy countless virtual servers and even operate multiple recovery sites if business demands it.
The hybrid cloud is rapidly changing the way enterprises approach disaster recovery. They are able to use the public cloud as a both a backup destination and fully functioning offsite location - all while retaining a comfortable level of control from their own private network.
There are challenges that may impact security and recovery times, but if businesses have a plan that addresses data protection, recovery objectives and other concerns, they can tilt the balance in their favour to ensure that positives outweigh the negatives.
By Marina Brook, Head of Sales APAC, StorageCraft Asia-Pacific