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Implementing cloud recovery services: Take advantage of accessibility

Cloud-based disaster recovery, or DR as a service, is making disaster recovery more accessible. In this TechTarget TechTalk video, storage expert Jason Buffington discussed how cloud recovery services can work for your organization.

Business continuity and DR are not just for enterprises anymore. With cloud DR, even the smallest company can ensure it is ready in the event of a disaster. And it's leading to increased DR testing -- an important process that is not implemented enough.

Buffington, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, urged organizations to implement "right-sized" disaster recovery in terms of cost and complexity.

"A midsize [organization] should really be embracing DR as a service," Buffington said. "But the tool set there is going to look different than if a large enterprise wanted to embrace disaster recovery in the cloud."

Orchestration and ease of use are also keys to a solid cloud recovery service. "How is it going to handle networking?" he said. "How is it going to handle sandboxing so I can test it and play with it and make sure it works?"

There are many options in the DR as a service market. But Buffington advised caution when choosing a cloud recovery services provider and urged users to take the time to ensure a vendor has the proper expertise and long-term viability.

"Understand that nobody has as much invested in your recovery during a crisis as you do," Buffington said.

And while there are some strong elements to the technology in general, Buffington sees improvements down the line in workflow and multi-hypervisor support.

Watch the video and read the transcript below for more tips on implementing cloud recovery services, tackling issues associated with the technology, and proper planning and testing. 

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Transcript - Implementing cloud recovery services: Take advantage of accessibility

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of a video clip from Jason Buffington's TechTalk on cloud disaster recovery services with Paul Crocetti, a site editor in TechTarget's Storage Media Group. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

What are the biggest benefits to implementing cloud recovery services?

Jason Buffington: The biggest benefits of DR as a service [DRaaS] really come down to accessibility for organizations of all sizes. All organizations have always understood they needed more BC/DR than they had. But only large organizations had the skills and technology to actually achieve it. A cloud recovery service gives organizations of all sizes that second location to go to. Typically, DRaaS providers have not only the raised floor and infrastructure, but often the expertise that comes with that. So, in general, it makes it more accessible to everybody.

What are common issues with adopting a cloud recovery service, and how can organizations get around those issues?

Buffington: The most common issue with cloud DR is actually [disaster recovery]. Just because you know how to do backup and recovery, doesn't necessarily mean you know how to plan for a disaster; how to assess what your key systems are; how to manage the replication; and how to consistently test to make sure that when you need those systems, you're ready.

The biggest challenge in cloud DR is the DR preparedness, which is why it's so important organizations partner with vendors that have consulting expertise on business continuity/disaster recovery planning. After that, cloud recovery services simply provide them that economical location and reliability in a model they can actually afford, because they're only paying for it when they need it.

What are some tips for cloud DR planning?

Buffington: First and foremost, you need to understand what are your core systems that are truly business impactful? What is that going to cost if it goes down? And then work your solution backward from that. Understand what could break.

Secondly, test it. There are two ways you can test BC/DR. You can test looking for green checkmarks, or you can test looking for red X's. If you test looking for green checkmarks, that's what you're going to get. You're going to get green checkmarks and you're going to feel good about it, and it's not going to work when you need it. If you test looking for red X's, then you're going to find what's broken. What can I improve on? What can I make sure is going to be different next time? And that's how you'll actually have IT when you need it.

What are some tips for testing a cloud recovery service?

Buffington: Frequency. When we polled users of self-managed BC/DR, on average they test about once every six to 12 months. Customers who were using DRaaS, on the other hand, were testing some component of their service every five weeks.

The more often you test, the more often you'll find what it is that actually gets you there. That's so important, because you don't have to have that whole secondary set of infrastructure. You're paying only for compute when you need it. Turn it on, test something a little bit -- you spend a few pennies on compute, and when you're done, you power it back down again.

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