Based on the popular demand for virtualization of critical applications, cloud computing could be the best solution for disaster recovery (DR) in a virtual environment. But, as many surveys suggest, corporations are still reluctant to rely on the cloud for their entire DR strategies.
Virtualization has been growing steadily in the last 10 years. According to VMWare, over 20 million virtual machines are running vSphere, and that number is growing. And, while 23 percent of the installed applications were running in a virtual machine in 2010, Gartner estimates that over 48 percent of them will run on a VM this year. Also, SMBs are moving faster to virtualization and cloud computing, going from 0 percent to 100 percent virtualization very quickly.
But DR is still considered another issue. While SMBs are moving everything to the cloud, large corporations are not entirely confident that this is the best solution for DR. It takes a lot of courage to rely on an external cloud to secure data. Most IT departments are moving DR to the cloud in small steps, always keeping a backup at home. And it makes sense, especially if the cloud vendor's servers are located in the same datacenter as virtualization servers are. If a crisis occurs, it might affect the entire cloud infrastructure.
In a survey conducted last year, Neverfail Group -- an Austin, Texas-based global software company providing data protection, high availability, and disaster recovery solutions -- found that 26 percent of respondents were unsure of cloud platforms as a viable DR option, and a further 30 percent won't consider a cloud infrastructure for protecting their IT resources.
"It's clear that many businesses remain wary about the stability of cloud-based infrastructures as disaster recovery platforms. Without access to business resources, severe financial implications and reputational damage are very real consequences, as well as long, drawn out processes in getting users back online," said Bob Roudebush, VP of marketing at Neverfail. "An interesting observation from this survey is the high numbers of businesses running tier one applications on virtual machines, supporting an industry trend that suggests end-users are using virtualization as a stepping stone to adopting cloud services. Nevertheless, companies continue to need advice on how to protect their critical applications. By re-thinking availability strategies as infrastructure changes are instigated, IT decision makers can ensure that a good level of resiliency is in place to avoid any downtime, allowing businesses to focus attention on delivering excellent standards of service to their own customers."
There is no universal medicine for moving disaster recovery to the cloud, and most corporations are contemplating different solutions. It is clear that choosing a long-term strategy is better than experimenting with temporary solutions.
But, as critical applications are being virtualized and moved to the cloud, it is imperative to prepare for the fact that DR will move to the cloud at some point.
Do you use a cloud platform for DR? What are your plans to move it to the cloud in the near future?