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How should I approach a cloud-based DR implementation?

When evaluating cloud disaster recovery, you will need to think about what your environment looks like now and what it will look like in the next few years.

I would say take a holistic view. For example, let's say that as part of your disaster recovery (DR) strategy, you are running applications in the cloud in the event of an outage. Once you get a little bit of familiarity with this process, you should take a step back and decide what the cloud-based DR environment should look like.

Rather than just doing disaster recovery of the workloads, applications and servers you have running on site, you might want to think about the next few years. What should live permanently in the cloud? What should remain a hybrid, where primary data is on site and secondary data is located in the cloud? What will never touch the cloud?

It's important to understand the infrastructure and how much workload is associated with each of the above data sets. Then you can start to decide what fits where based on the volume you will have over several years, rather than just one-off applications.

You're likely to get a better discount -- and probably more assistance and cooperation from a cloud provider -- if you can come to them with a plan that says, "We're going to move this much into the cloud over a period of a year or two."

Next Steps

How to make cloud DR a reality

Pros and cons of cloud DR approaches

What to consider when adopting a cloud-based disaster recovery service

Dig Deeper on Disaster recovery services - outsourcing

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What's the best -- or worst -- piece of advice you've ever received when shopping for cloud DR?
It is important to take an overview even when handling a disaster recovery strategy that enables the running of applications in the cloud even when an outage occurs. This ensures that there is familiarity with the process and taking a step back to understand and make decisions on the best cloud-based disaster recovery environment is important. This will also assist on deciding what should be considered as a permanent service or data and vice versa.
It's important to consider disaster recovery for the cloud itself. What happens if a storm takes out the cloud you're using for disaster recovery, as has happened with AWS?
When cloud disaster strikes, I will need to look at what my environment looks like now and what it will look like for the future.