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What CIOs can learn in the wake of a major IT outage

By Andrew Martin | Nov. 19, 2017
The impact of system outages brings to light the stark reality that as cloud continues to evolve, there are serious challenges to its true resiliency to withstand unforced errors

A successful DR infrastructure needs to be highly automated and continuously replicate data, allowing for applications to be quickly “rewound” to the seconds just before an outage. It must be able to meet recover point objective (RPO) defined by the business, with little to no loss of data or loss of application availability. Even a few seconds can cost you tens of thousands of dollars either in the way of lost revenue from an application being down and unable to transact or incurring fines from a compliance failure.

IT resilience – The case for hybrid cloud

Every CIO has their own organisational requirements. Some have compliance challenges and others may have data locality issues. For this reason DR plans can sometimes seem as unique as a fingerprint in how they are built, maintained and where they recover too. While IT is clearly moving towards cloud-based infrastructures, the centerpiece of this trend revolves around the ability to thrive through every permutation of a disaster being more than just natural causes, but even common power failures and human error.

Although each element within hybrid cloud has its own associated strengths and weaknesses - what is the best way to manage against technology service disruptions?

Here are the three pillars that help enterprise-class organisations achieve IT resilience:

1. You must have resiliency-in-layers, meaning a secondary (or more), geographically and meteorologically diverse, off-premise recovery data centre. This ensures that, should anything happen to your primary site, you will always have the redundant location to reduce the risk of an extended outage altogether.

Use a managed service provider (MSP) or cloud service provider (CSP). This switches the financial model to OpEx and allows you to leverage a ready-made infrastructure and service provider hired experts contractually obligated to deliver on the defined service level agreement (SLA).

2. Dip your toe into a public cloud infrastructure. Increasingly, organisations are rolling their own or leveraging MSP/CSP partners to “test drive” public cloud as a second or third site. Businesses must understand and match their data and application priority with the associated target and SLA requirements.

3. While every public cloud outage demonstrates that it’s not immune to catastrophes, looking at public cloud as a part of your resiliency-in-layers, hybrid-based plan can be a cost-effective way to get a third or more site and add some geo and meteorological diversity to your plan.

Organisations need to build and adopt tools and platforms with redundant, scalable, simple recovery and DR testing processes. The quicker a company can recover data, the less an effect it will have on the business with significant cost and time savings realised.

Andrew Martin is Asia Pacific vice president at Zerto.

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