SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Zakia Bouachraoui, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Why Cloud Computing Must Be Included in Disaster Recovery Planning

It is of little surprise that IT is viewed as both a key enabler of risk management and a key threat

It is now official. 2010, according to the United Nations, was one of the deadliest years for natural disasters experienced over the past two decades.

Statistics released yesterday are both shocking and heartbreaking in equal measure. Some 373 natural disasters claimed the lives of more than 296,800 people last year, affecting nearly 208 million people at an estimated cost of nearly $110 billion. To put this in perspective the loss of life equates to losing the entire population of a UK city the size of Nottingham or Leicester.

The research was compiled by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium, and supported by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).Unfortunately according to the same report, the disasters that befell 2010 may just be the start of an unwelcome trend. Indeed the U.N. assistant secretary-general for disaster risk reduction, Margareta Wahlström, stated that last year’s figures may simply be viewed as benign in years to come.

“Unless we act now, we will see more and more disasters due to unplanned urbanization and environmental degradation. And weather-related disasters are sure to rise in the future, due to factors that include climate change.”

Ms. Wahlström then moves on to state: “that disaster risk reduction was no longer optional.”  “What we call ‘disaster risk reduction’ - and what some are calling ‘risk mitigation’ or ‘risk management’ - is a strategic and technical tool for helping national and local governments to fulfil their responsibilities to citizens.”

As if we needed further reminding of the impact that natural disasters can have on communities, at the same time as Ms.Wahlström was spearheading the UN’s media activities, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) was issuing guidance to help GP’s overcome the challenge of restoring Information Technology functionality after the recent Queensland floods.

Professor Claire Jackson, RACGP President and GP in Brisbane, stated: “This will be a time that will test the disaster recovery and business continuity planning of many general practices. The RACGP’s IT disaster recovery flowchart and fact sheet will provide guidance with the often technically difficult challenges of restoring IT systems and procedures to their full functionality.”

It is a sad fact of life that once the world’s media turns its cameras towards the next news story, we soon forget about the impact that a disaster has had on a particular community, and for some perverse reason, no matter how graphic the images or how sad the stories, we move on, safe in the knowledge that ‘it can’t happen to us.’And whilst for a whole host of geographic or socio economic reasons, the majority of us will never thankfully, experience the pain and devastation that a large scale natural disaster can bring, everyone of us can, and will, suffer some type of ‘personal disaster’ for which we could have taken some basic precautionary measures thus negating their effects.

As the world, and its citizens, is ever reliant on technology to function on a day to day basis, it is of little surprise that IT is viewed as both a key enabler of risk management and a key threat. We can assume that all of the Queensland GP’s patients’ medical records were stored electronically to improve both service and process delivery, and can only hope that they were not stored in a single data centre location that has now been washed away.

How many times have you heard people complain that they are ‘suffering the day from hell’ as their laptop has been stolen/lost/damaged and they’ve lost all their work/photos/contacts (delete as appropriate)?, and for some bizarre reason, we are supposed to empathise with them. Much in the same way that folks without basic desktop protection are filled with indignation that someone with a dubious moral compass has dared plant a Trojan on their PC or attempted to steal their bank account details.

In the recent past, two of the reasons oft quoted by business and consumers for not to taking disaster recovery too seriously, has been cost and complexity. And who could argue with the business logic? Purchasing and maintaining a full set of servers to mirror an existing infrastructure could be viewed as an expensive overhead, particularly if considered simply an ‘insurance policy’ that will in all probability never be ‘claimed.’ Many an IT department’s justifiable claims for additional DR Capex have fallen on ‘deaf ears’ over the years - usually dismissed out of hand as ‘expense for expense’ sake.

Likewise consumers have probably been baffled by the thought of regularly archiving and backing up their treasured holiday snaps. Where too and how?

As stated earlier, technology does have a major role to play in disaster recovery.

Cloud computing is now being considered as a genuine viable disaster recovery/business continuity solution at all levels and for all markets. According to the Cloud Convergence Council, cloud service providers are currently reporting that one in four end-users are asking for cloud-based disaster recovery and backup services.

The reason is simple. As mentioned previously, you don’t need DR services until something goes wrong - making them a cost centre, not a profit center. Moving disaster recovery into the cloud can deliver greater efficiency, security, scalability, and much desired cost savings.

There can be no doubt that the ability to store, back up and archive data to an offsite third party, via the cloud, is compelling but as with anything ‘risk’ related there are several considerations to make before deciding upon a solution.

You will need to consider whether you want your data to be held within a physical geographical boundary. If you do, you will need to ensure that you contract with a cloud provider who can guarantee that their data centre is within your desired territory. You will also need to know how and where your data is stored, once it is in your provider’s cloud. Will it be stored within one physical location, thereby increasing the risk of a single point of failure, or will it be distributed across nodes in more than one data centre? You may be happy that the providers ‘resilience’ simply involves separate racks in separate data halls, in which case you will need to be convinced that their site is served with diverse power supplies, and is free from potential natural hazards etc.

On the other hand you may feel that this level of cloud service equates to ‘all eggs in one basket’ approach, in which case you might opt for a cloud supplier with multiple data centres offering multiple resilience options across the DC estate. This will be in all likelihood a more expensive option but one which less ‘risky.’

This leads us to the question of cost. Many cloud services are charged on a per MB, GB or TB usage basis, which can make predictable budgeting a challenge. One blue chip company that recently considered moving to cloud for data replication estimated that it would cost them, over a period of three years, $55,000 more when compared with running a comparable in house system that would regularly and automatically fail over as required, due to the variable nature of the cloud provider’s billing.

Once again, you should seek to find a cloud provider that can provide some element of inclusive fixed pricing/packaging or will provide you with an agreed fixed tiered pricing model.

Finally, and most importantly, seek a provider that offers cast iron service level agreements for cloud. If their marketing blurb states that they can have you ‘fully restored and running’ within an hour, determine exactly what, contractually, ‘fully restored and running’ means and a definition of an ‘hour’ might also be useful.

As with any form of insurance policy, the more ticks you place in the boxes - the greater the degree of protection - the higher the premium. You should not expect a full cloud ‘belt and braces’ DR solution to be cheap. Total peace of mind does cost.

No one has yet stated that the cloud will solve every disaster recovery/business continuity issue, but it should certainly be considered as a workable solution to an age old problem.

It would however appear to be somewhat ironic that we are turning to a meteorologically named technological DR solution in a week when we are being advised to plan better as “weather-related disasters are sure to rise in the future.”

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Phil Worms

Phil is a 30 year IT industry veteran with a passion for education and has personally led many school and higher education initiatives designed to engage young people and showcase the broad range of exciting and fulfilling roles in IT.

A full and varied career has seen Phil move through various senior product/project and marketing positions with companies as diverse as Centrica plc, One.Tel, VarTec Telecom and iomart Group plc. Phil is working on a project to create an intergenerational social hub that will celebrate creativity and achievement in Helensburgh, birthplace of television pioneer John Logie Baird.The Heroes Centre will provide people of all ages with the new media and content creation skills required to engage fully in the digital world. Follow his progress on Twitter and on Facebook

Latest Stories
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, has announced it will present five sessions at four upcoming industry conferences in June: BCS in London, DevOpsCon in Berlin, HPE Discover and Cloud Computing Expo 2019.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
Kubernetes as a Container Platform is becoming a de facto for every enterprise. In my interactions with enterprises adopting container platform, I come across common questions: - How does application security work on this platform? What all do I need to secure? - How do I implement security in pipelines? - What about vulnerabilities discovered at a later point in time? - What are newer technologies like Istio Service Mesh bring to table?In this session, I will be addressing these commonly asked ...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.