The hybrid cloud wants you to have the best of both worlds. Instead of investing solely in a public cloud or privately managed infrastructure, you have the luxury of combining the core functions of both in one package. In return you benefit from an integrated IT environment that delivers a better user experience, increased resiliency, and greater flexibility.
Flexibility is key here because it enables the hybrid cloud to accommodate a wide range of applications, including backup and disaster recovery. In fact, an IDG Research survey showed that 56 percent of respondents say the hybrid cloud improves their disaster recovery capabilities.
Benefits of the hybrid cloud for disaster recovery
We have an idea that disaster recovery is a big reason organizations are shifting toward these mixed infrastructures. Now let’s examine how the hybrid cloud is turning potential into tangible benefits.
1. Comprehensive disaster recovery on a budget
A complete disaster recovery solution has traditionally been both complex and expensive to deploy. Ideally, you have two locations: your primary data center and a separate location that supports the operation should the main site fail. But maintaining this type of environment is cost prohibitive, hence the reason why secondary sites are mostly deployed by larger companies with deep pockets and fully staffed IT departments. After all, you need resources in the form of server hardware, storage devices, bandwidth, and manpower to run two locations. And the bigger your workloads, the bigger the demand.
Thanks to the flexible pay-as-you-go pricing model of the cloud, disaster recovery suddenly goes from cost prohibitive to cost effective. With no need to pour excess funds into physical resources, smaller businesses can spend their IT budgets in ways that would not have been possible before. Furthermore, the immediate availability of built-in Windows tools such as Hyper-V Replica and various SaaS-based applications allows you to replicate data to the cloud and manage DR operations without purchasing additional licenses. As a result, getting that secondary site up and running is easier and more affordable than ever.
2. Simplified DR management
Simplicity is among the biggest advantages a hybrid cloud brings to disaster recovery. When partnering with a cloud service provider, the vendor assumes the responsibility of setup, configuration, ongoing maintenance, and monitoring the physical environment. For the user, managing this dual infrastructure is as simple as switching between your primary and secondary DR sites from one centralized interface. This is a huge perk for organizations at any level. Even major corporations can benefit from time savings that allow them to focus on core competencies and carving out a competitive edge.
3. The ideal backup target
Simply having one backup copy of your data isn’t enough. You need a copy you can immediately access onsite, and at least one other copy tucked away in an offsite location. A hybrid cloud helps you bulletproof your data protection strategy by providing that secondary backup destination. If you don’t have access to another facility for whatever reason, the public cloud can stand in as the location you use for offsite backups. Cloud storage is often cheaper than traditional storage, so designating it as a backup target might make perfect business sense for your company.
4. Compliance made easy
If you’re subject to HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or other compliance standards, hosting sensitive data in the public cloud is a risky proposition. Rules and regulations surrounding who has access to your information and how long it is retained mean you have to remain cautious about inviting a third party into the picture. The hybrid cloud offers a compromise by allowing you to replicate and encrypt your data in your own private network before sending it to the recovery site. In a properly managed environment, meeting both your business continuity needs and compliance requirements is much easier.
5. The scalability factor
You want your most vital IT infrastructure components to be able to grow as your business grows. A disaster recovery solution is no exception. In a traditional environment, outgrowing your server requires you to buy, install, and manage new hardware. In a cloud scenario, you have the ability to tap into a bottomless capacity and scale up on an as-needed basis. The virtually limitless scalability of cloud computing means you can deploy countless virtual servers and even operate multiple recovery sites if business demands it.
The hybrid cloud is rapidly changing how the enterprise approaches disaster recovery. You have the ability to use the public cloud as a both a backup destination and fully functioning offsite location all while retaining a comfortable level of control from the confines of your own private network. Sure, there are challenges as far as security and recovery times are concerned. But if you go in with a plan that addresses data protection, recovery objectives, and other concerns, you can tilt the balance in your favor to ensure that the positives outweigh the negatives.