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Cloud computing causing rethinking of disaster recovery

John Dix | July 31, 2013
Cloud computing gives organizations the opportunity to rethink many traditional IT practices, but it may be a particularly good fit for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Larger companies take business continuity seriously and have comprehensive plans in place, but for companies that could do more, does cloud offer enough advantages to get them off the dime?
The cloud gives small and medium-sized business the same capabilities that larger companies have had for years. Many larger companies have secondary data centers they can use for data backup and recovery, whereas most smaller companies don't. Smaller companies with, say, 25 to 100 servers very often back up to tape. Maybe they store the tapes locally and they may not have a sophisticated disaster recovery plan and strategy. Now, the cloud gives them same capabilities as large companies. They can back up data or replicate servers to a remote site, and then fail-over the servers and network to the remote site in the event of a disaster. So it's giving small and medium-sized businesses much more sophistication.  

How about for the higher-end folks that do have sophisticated plans in place, are they looking to the cloud as well?
For companies that have sophisticated disaster recovery architectures and strategies, introducing the cloud can be beneficial from a financial perspective and from a control perspective, because with cloud disaster recovery you get to test it more often. But larger companies are asking, "How do I integrate this into what I already have?  I test twice a year. I take those tests and I give them to my auditors. How am I going to do this now with the cloud? And by the way, I might have some technology that can't be recovered into the cloud. So how do I do that?"

The larger companies need to create an integrated strategy of processes, architecture, and the reporting necessary to demonstrate to auditors they have this capability. One of the benefits of having a consulting group like ours, is that we, unlike some other cloud providers where you're on your own, can consult and create that strategy to enable cloud to work with what you have.

When you're talking to larger companies, where do you get started?
It depends upon what they have. Some organizations are do-it-yourselfers. They have a sophisticated plan and they know how to implement it. They may say, "All we want from you, IBM, is your SmartCloud Managed Backup, or your SmartCloud Virtualized Server Recovery or your SmartCloud Content Manager. Just give us the cloud services and we'll do it. Then we have other customers that want some help setting it up. First thing we say is, show us what plans you already have and we can work together to create the strategy, architecture, processes and procedures necessary to ensure success with integrating cloud into the disaster recovery capabilities of your company.  


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