Implementing business continuity and disaster recovery with cloud services
By Paul Kessler, Asia Cloud Computing Association 17-Oct-2011
Earlier last month, we witnessed the memorial service for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. The aftermath of 9/11 resulted in organizations recognizing the need to review their Business Continuity Plans, to be ready for worst case scenarios where main data centers, or even whole buildings, might be lost. Under such circumstances, how can operations shift from one location to another?
Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, many organizations started to allocate resources for Business Continuity Planning. Billions were spent on building remote data centers to accommodate IT equipment for disaster failover. Many organizations hired Business Continuity Consultants to help develop Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) and Disaster Recovery Plans (DRPs). BCP drills were conducted and organizations gained a sense of confidence of being protected against disasters.
However, the euphoria did not last long as organizations began to realize that maintaining BCPs required ongoing resources and investments; every new IT service and additional piece of equipment brought online in the main data center had to also be accompanied by an upgrade of the equipment in the remote data centers. In addition, with a need to regularly update BCP documentation and conduct drills, many organizations (especially SMEs with limited budgets) ended up with outdated BCPs that no longer can be relied upon in a real disaster scenario.
Closing the Gap
The advent of Cloud Computing presents organizations with the alternative of hosting Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) requirements in Cloud Services. The recovery services provided by Cloud Service Providers are classified as:
• Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) – Organizations subscribe to Cloud Services as a platform to failover their IT resources during a disaster.
• Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS) – Organizations subscribe to the services of a Business Continuity Consultant from the Cloud Service Provider as a complete turnkey solution for their Business Continuity requirements. This is in addition to the services organizations receive from DRaaS.