Weighed Down by On-Premises Disaster Recovery Sites? Move to the Cloud

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Click to learn more about author Andy Fernandez.

In today’s new remote-heavy world, it’s more important than ever that organizations are available 24/7. From healthcare to online retail, potential downtime, with an average cost of $250,000 per hour, can be catastrophic. This leaves IT organizations with the task of meeting “always-on” expectations with, likely, less financial and human resources than normal. 

In today’s environment, IT professionals are eager to explore cost-savings with modern cloud solutions, but organizations need a cloud strategy and adoption path that works best for their business, and it needs to happen in a way that maintains the IT resilience necessary to achieve the “always-on” goal.

“If you have not developed a cloud-first strategy yet, you are likely falling behind your competitors,” says Elias Khnaser, VP Analyst at Gartner in the blog post “6 Steps for Planning a Cloud Strategy.” Beyond market position, the benefits of such a strategy are clear: reduced costs, driving business growth, increasing agility, enabling IT scalability, and accelerating innovation. But there’s a big difference between saying you’re committed to a cloud-first strategy and executing it. Taking disaster recovery (DR) operations to the cloud is a good first step in the journey towards achieving both IT cost savings and IT resilience.

First, when we look at organizations that have successfully moved DR to the cloud, they tend to have common characteristics and reasons for pursuing cloud. You are dealing with a high level of data growth and sprawl yet have limited budget, time, and resources. Your company is transitioning from a CAPEX to an OPEX-focused model, and there is some sort of commitment to digital transformation. However, you’re struggling to consistently meet or exceed RTOs and RPOs. 

Even though many organizations share these characteristics, it’s important to recognize that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all cloud model. Still, there are three ways of bringing DR to the cloud that can be achieved for a variety of company profiles: DR in the public cloud, VMware in the public cloud, and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). 

DR to the Public Cloud

If you’re looking for the lowest cost model, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) with public cloud providers is the best option. Moving your DR to one of these platforms, replacing a physical, secondary site, results in a drastic reduction of capital expenditures and resource requirements for maintenance, day-to-day operations, and upgrades. And the ability to meet data protection demands with this hands-off, offsite storage makes adhering to the common 3-2-1 backup rule an easier and more affordable reality.

As your needs grow, public cloud providers have on-demand resources to keep up with your data growth in a way that is likely much faster and easier than you could do on your own. With a vast network of servers available via AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and others, you are ensuring against failure in a way that’s difficult to achieve otherwise.

VMware on Public Cloud

Enterprises have a lot of added complexities when it comes to their VMware environments, including applications that are not well-suited for traditional IaaS or direct migration. Historically, the road ended there for large companies that were, understandably, unwilling to dedicate the time and resources to re-architect their applications and configurations. However, both Azure and Google Cloud now have options available for migrating and protecting native workloads, all while keeping VMware policies and configurations as if on-premises.

This means that organizations no longer need to re-architect applications, enabling migrating DR to the cloud much faster and with minimal changes. Large organizations now have the freedom to take a step forward without the mind-bending complexity originally presented in their desire to adopt a BC/DR cloud strategy. 

DRaaS

One of the top reasons we see organizations adopt DRaaS is because DR capabilities were previously nonexistent. After that, it’s organizations in need of improved recovery objectives or those with DR capabilities limited to tape storage. Regardless of your reason, you may be trying to assess what the big differences are between traditional DR and DRaaS. With DRaaS, you have a cloud partner — a dedicated resource to help meet RTO and RPO goals, to provide premium support and professional services, and to offload BC/DR at a level of your comfort.

Outside of the dedicated resources, your DRaaS service provider takes over implementation, alleviating stress from your team. You also have the option for customization. For example, if you have specific compliance requirements or self-service needs, achieving that level of specificity is possible with your DRaaS partner. Lastly, DRaaS unlocks many of the benefits that come with public cloud adoption, like reliability and scaling with the 3-2-1 rule, but you’re also supported by a niche partner that can help ensure a mature BC/DR practice, and, ultimately, a more resilient IT infrastructure. As a result, you’ll achieve improved RTOs and RPOs, and it will be significantly easier to test more often, all with little-to-no disruption to your business.

Total Economic Impact

Ultimately, many companies choose to move their DR to one cloud or another for economic reasons. They’ve seen enough proof from others’ successes and want to do it themselves. It’s also crucial to look for DR and data protection solutions that reduce the resources, infrastructure, staff, and time dedicated to these operations.

In a report from Forrester related to the ROI of implementing an IT resilience platform, significant figures come to light. According to this report, organizations that accomplished the DR-to-cloud transition experienced the following benefits:

●      Reduced DR solutions from four to one and saved $10 million

●      Saved $800k in three years with DR to a public cloud

●      Saw a 16-times decrease in time spent on production support processes

●      Merged 21 data centers into 6 in 36 months

In this environment where constant availability and uptime are just as important as cost savings, it’s a natural step to start your cloud journey with the piece of your IT infrastructure that can tackle both. Bringing BC/DR into the cloud significantly reduces expenses and sets a foundation of IT resilience that will carry over into all other cloud initiatives. And thanks to cloud advancements seen over the last several years, particularly the addition of VMware on public cloud to the marketplace, there are cloud disaster recovery options for organizations of all sizes. 

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