When cloud computing was introduced initially, there was a buzz regarding the cloud being an affordable and secondary data center. The need to have secondary or back up storage space is not new to large enterprises. Many enterprises already have one, but since cloud desktop, the majority have shifted from their own to a cloud platform. When needing a disaster recovery option, people immediately turned to cloud desktops because why would you spend money when there is a viable option readily available?
Like the traditional DR solutions, moving to a Cloud Desktop offers more than just replacing your data center. Data in the cloud changes continuously and is adequately monitored to ensure that the required data is replicated to your secondary site. It all depends on your disaster recovery plan and what you consider to be a disaster.
Since cloud services are always available, its ability to support several disaster recoveries is unbeatable. From a single application to an entire data center, cloud platforms ensure availability for data-critical applications. Also, they offer different cost models to assess your needs in the best way possible. Pick an option that can offer a high-availability model that enables instant fail over when needed.
Of course, organizations can move back to the traditional “all or nothing” model, which replicates the entire on-premise data center live onto a cloud platform. Using such an approach can advantage organizations through the active-active model. In such a model, factors like geography, performance, or utilization can determine the data center a user is directed to. A model in which two or more data centers are active to avoid any downtime is beneficial to the users apart from its existential value.
Looking at it from a cost’s perspective, this approach can be expensive over time. Maintaining more than one data center with real-time data replication is not easy or cheap, even in the cloud. However, the ROI on such an investment can be valuable, specifically if your data centers are located in a location vulnerable to natural disasters.
If we look for less-costly models, a cloud-based DR architecture in which the critical applications are prioritized while the rest are put in stasis. Depending on your employees, partners, and users’ thoughts, you can come with a model that balances operational costs based on the agreed SLA, including the recovery time in case of a disaster. Applications and systems which are marked as non-essential might not be as available as the critical apps. The second tier applications might take hours, if not days before they are accessible again. The timeline you agree with to restore cloud access will determine the frequency of data replication and overall maintenance cost.
This is where your cloud provider becomes helpful. One of the benefits of choosing cloud providers is that they have data centers located in different locations across the globe. You need to understand where you will be putting your backup data center. It makes little to no sense that you would want your cloud data center to be in the same place as your primary data center, making them vulnerable to the same disasters. Ensure that the cloud provider you are going with has data centers geographically different from yours.
If your organization solely runs on the cloud desktop, getting a second cloud provider won’t be a bad idea. There have been few cases of significant outages, but again there are also cases when organizations have needed disaster recovery even for their secondary option. Not having a plan about dealing with the failure of a cloud is similar to not having a disaster recovery plan at all.
The whole idea regarding disaster recovery is based on the fact that a random event will knock out your business by cutting off the internet. You should execute a DR plan for your primary data center, and plan something else for your cloud-based ones.
Better to have an executable plan than having no plan at all, saving you from ending up at someone’s PowerPoint about data center failures.