By Faiz Khan, Founder and CEO of Wanclouds, and Jon Hall, Director, IBM Cloud Worldwide Technical Sales Leader
They say the only constant in life is change. And in the face of growing natural disasters and ransomware attacks, IT leaders are continually faced with having to change their disaster recovery and cloud backup strategies. Indeed, as both of these risks increase in frequency and severity, enterprises are finding that data and uptime are becoming increasingly more challenging to protect. Likewise, the repercussions of not securing business continuity are enormous.
For Fortune 1000 companies, just one minute of downtime can result in over $16,000 in lost revenue. Therefore, it makes sense for the Google’s and the Facebook’s of the world to incur the costs that are associated with hot or 24/7 available disaster recovery sites, which typically range between $10-$25M per year. But for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the investment required to run two environments is nearly impossible.
Therefore, many small to mid-sized organizations have typically planned to use the cloud as a cold DR site with little or no plans. Because this often requires nothing to be set up in advance, it reduces or eliminates their disaster recovery expense altogether. However, as the number of smaller businesses minimizing disaster recovery planning increases, they’re finding the cost savings they gain are being outweighed by the risk they are taking on. In fact, according to enterpriseappstoday.com, 75% of small enterprises do not have a disaster recovery plan in place currently, and 60% of businesses experiencing data loss will close down within six months of any disaster they encounter.
As a result, warm disaster recovery is becoming an increasingly attractive cloud DR solution for these businesses as downtime threats increase and pressure grows from the C-suite to decrease the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is the maximum length of time allotted to restore normal operations following an outage or data loss. Warm disaster recovery, which typically has SMEs back and running in an hour or less, allows for a more efficient and financially sensible route to business continuity.
As the name suggests, a warm site is in between a hot site and a cold site, where duplicate data and applications are placed at the cloud DR site and kept up to date with data and applications in the primary data center. Let’s take a closer look at the trends driving demand for warm disaster recovery approaches and how to utilize public clouds as a warm DR site.
The Need to Avoid Danger and Follow Regulatory Compliance
Even a minor outage can put enterprises at a competitive disadvantage. With the rise in natural disasters and escalating cybersecurity risks such as ransomware, a local disaster recovery option is no longer a wise strategy for business continuity efforts. Part of the reason is that off-premises disaster recovery locations run into a bit of a paradox in regard to their location: too close to the primary site and both locations can end up in the crosshairs of a natural disaster, but too far away, and it becomes more challenging to replicate and keep data in sync between the sites.
Secondly, regulations such as GDPR, PCI, and HIPAA are making it increasingly important for organizations to back up data that is vulnerable to natural disasters, cyber threats, hardware failures, or even human error to ensure compliance. Before cloud-based DR options were available, small and midsize enterprises looking to stay compliant were underserved by legacy disaster recovery options that were cost-prohibitive and resource-intensive.
Thankfully, relying on warm, cloud-based DR not only eliminates the cost-prohibitive nature of disaster recovery but also addresses compliance risks. In the event of a disruption due to outages, ransomware attacks, and even wars, enterprises have the option of moving their applications to virtually any geographic location.
The Need to Reduce Cost and Complexities
Although there’s been a noticeable increase in demand to optimize cloud spending as rising cloud costs come under the microscope, utilizing a third-party, public cloud, such as IBM Cloud as a warm disaster recovery site, has proven to be a significantly less expensive approach than creating and managing a hot DR site.
Whether you are running your workloads on Virtual Machines or in containerized environments, this cost-effective approach to ensuring uptime within an hour of a disaster provides resiliency and security that can mitigate the risk of missing RTOs. Combining IBM Cloud with a managed service provider, such as Wanclouds, that offers Backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can be especially beneficial for organizations running complex cloud environments such as SAP, VMware, or a mix of Virtual Machines or Kubernetes workloads that are cumbersome and difficult to back up. For instance, using these in tandem can be utilized to set active replication for SAP HANA databases, which leads to a quicker restoration of service.
Better yet, this approach means that developers and cloud admins don't have to put environments into rescue mode or stop services; Wanclouds non-disruptive approach works behind the scenes to backup VMs, Data, Kubernetes, and Cloud configurations under a single pane of glass. Moreover, the user has the flexibility to take backups on-demand for various resources across different platforms, such as using IBM Cloud VPC as a DR site for on-prem servers or using another IBM Cloud region for the DR site of a VMware workload running on IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions. IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service can also be used as a DR environment for on-prem self-managed Kubernetes clusters. All backups are performed securely and stored in an encrypted format in the customer’s cloud object store.
The Need for Scalability + Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Flexibility
Business needs change over time, which means your current computing and data storage needs will evolve as well. As such, scalability remains a continuous area of concern for enterprises as it allows them to ensure their disaster recovery needs are met both now and in the future. A DRaaS approach provides the option to pay-as-you-go, which means that enterprises are only paying for what they need and use at any given moment rather than investing massive amounts of revenue into managing a physical disaster recovery site. Instead, on-demand backups for the servers or clusters in use are restored only when they are needed.
This agility enables businesses to adapt to changing requirements and allocate their resources accordingly, allowing them to optimize both performance and cost-effectiveness in the process. For SMBs specifically, one of the most crucial selling points for DRaaS is its simplicity. It doesn’t require multiple tools, nor does it require expensive expert engagements. It enables SMBs to discover and back up their infrastructure blueprints in minutes— without fuss.
Furthermore, in today’s hybrid and multi-cloud environments, ensuring that your organization is backing up all data from on-premise and across all their public cloud platforms is vital. With that in mind, Wanclouds VPC+ for IBM Cloud provides centralized management through a single pane of glass to protect all data in a ‘warm’ fashion – regardless of where it resides. Application mobility, flexibility, and scalability are assured across regions and clouds without mounting costs or additional operational complexities.