It's becoming increasingly practical to construct disaster recovery (DR) solutions in a cloud as well. This requires a larger shift in management for many organizations, but it can harness more cost-effective resources and be more flexible and scalable. More than likely this will require a fairly comprehensive shift to server virtualization.
The issue surrounding this approach is that services may be more difficult to guarantee with service-level agreements (SLAs). These services may be more subject to performance degradation from disasters impacting large numbers of customers. It may be very challenging trying to get a handle on what a cloud-based service provider's infrastructure is capable of; there may be unique security implications, and you may run into various compliance and regulatory hurdles depending on your industry when you start looking at hosting data in the cloud.
DR in the cloud is certainly viable. It may solve a lot of your concerns about the location of a data center because that will force you down this path of managing things in a hands-off way that can be run remotely with any type of personnel.
This was first published in August 2008