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Disaster recovery a gateway drug to public clouds

Enterprises have a bevy of options for disaster recovery, but cloud backup can be a conservative path away from in-house infrastructure all together.

IT pros leery of the public cloud may want to consider disaster recovery as a first step.

Enterprises have a bevy of disaster recovery (DR) options, but those considering cloud-based backup may realize it also can serve as a conservative path to move away from in-house infrastructure altogether, according to Andrew Reichman, president of Reichman IT in Seattle.

"That can actually be a good migration strategy to get the cloud," Reichman said during a presentation at TechTarget's Modern Infrastructure Decision Summit in New York last week.

A cloud backup repository doesn't offer many more benefits than a traditional off-site repository does, while straight mirroring of a data center in the cloud is an unlikely and expensive route, Reichman said.

The more likely option is pilot-light DR , which requires a load-balancing application and trickles backups down to the smallest number of instances. With this model, the server and backup components can sit at a small fraction of performance capacity and capability, and only need rehydration when there is a failure.

For that disaster recovery option, enterprise IT has to feel comfortable with its application in the cloud, so when an in-house system goes down, the product continues to run seamlessly. And if you can run your application in the cloud, the next logical step could be to run it continuously in the cloud, Reichman said.

"You build it as this failover environment, you test it and you know it works," Reichman said. "When you hit your refresh cycle and you're ready to get rid of the gear that's powering it in your data center, you simply shut it down."

IT pros wary of public cloud

While the cloud may be fine for disaster recovery, many attendees at the summit remain skeptical of public cloud offerings.

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Governance around data security is a major concern for Emilio Garcia, an IT executive at a global investment company. Garcia operates 4,000 workloads on a private cloud and has held off on a hybrid cloud system.

"There have been discussions, but at the moment security implications are a concern for us," he said.

Garcia's concerns include not knowing who sees his company's data and the inability to audit a provider's data center.

It's in the best interest of vendors to provide ample protection, Reichman said, because a data loss would be a huge blow to their core business. Still, he said the cloud isn't for everyone. Banks probably don't want their sensitive data out of their own control, while major corporations that need to protect their trade secrets might be wary of having their data share an Amazon Web Services server.

"The cloud security is better than a lot of people are worried about, but it is certainly a consideration," Reichman said.

IT shops that see building their own infrastructure and curating data as a competitive advantage also wouldn't find much interest in moving to the cloud, but it can take away the headaches and time-consuming refresh cycles for others, Reichman said.

Trevor Jones is the news writer for SearchCloudComputing. You can reach him at

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Would you consider a cloud disaster recovery plan?