If you are managing a cloud computing environment, you need to be familiar with traditional cloud backup and disaster recovery techniques, such as hot Standby and Indicator light. These are all good strategies if the enterprise is using a single cloud computing environment. They even work well on most cloud platforms.
Cloud backup and recovery becomes more complex when an enterprise moves its business to a hybrid cloud environment. Here's why businesses need hybrid cloud disaster recovery and what steps they can take to ensure they are ready for rapid disaster recovery from hybrid clouds.
Traditional cloud backup and recovery
If an enterprise uses a single cloud environment, the primary concern that must be addressed when planning backup and recovery is balancing cost and performance.
AWS provides a good summary of the various backup technologies, offering different trade-offs between the cost of supporting them and the speed of recovery-based functionality. Technologies such as "indicator lights" allow companies to minimize the resources devoted to disaster recovery preparedness, but they can lead to slower recovery times. On the other hand, a hot backup or multi-site approach can achieve fast recovery, but at a higher cost.
Why is hybrid cloud disaster recovery different
The challenge for enterprises that adopt hybrid cloud architectures, which integrate private infrastructure into a public cloud environment, is that the cost and performance calculations for disaster recovery plans in a hybrid cloud are very different from those in a single cloud environment.
There are many reasons for this:
(1) Limited expansibility of infrastructure
First, hybrid clouds lack unlimited infrastructure resources because they rely partly on private infrastructure. An enterprise cannot simply start a new internal deployment server to recover from a hybrid cloud disaster the way it can start a replacement virtual machine instance in the public cloud to create a recovery environment.
For this reason, technologies like "Indicator Light" and "hot backup" need to quickly scale up infrastructure to replace failing cloud servers so they don't work well in a hybrid environment.
(2) Data bandwidth limitation
Another key challenge for hybrid cloud recovery is the slow movement of data between public and private clouds in a hybrid environment.
When an enterprise's environment runs only in the public cloud and its backups are hosted on this cloud platform, the enterprise recovers data from backups at a very high speed because there is no need to move data over the Internet. But in a hybrid architecture, moving backup data stored on private cloud servers to the public part of the cloud platform can take days or even weeks, and vice versa.
(3) Data privacy challenges
A popular use case for hybrid clouds is to simplify data privacy and compliance challenges by retaining some data in an internal deployment facility while still leveraging public cloud resources.
From a disaster recovery perspective, however, this can complicate recovery planning. The enterprise needs to manage backup and recovery operations in a way that ensures that data that is retained at the internal deployment facility is kept locally.
This also makes it difficult to do things like create a backup environment in the public cloud to replace a failed hybrid cloud, because an environment that runs only in the public cloud may not meet the data security requirements of an enterprise's original hybrid architecture.
(4) Limited backup tool support
While there are many data backup and recovery tools that work well with the public cloud, few vendors are able to meet the needs of the hybrid cloud market. Their tools are not designed to identify differences between the public and private parts of a hybrid architecture, nor to enable different data storage, retention, and security requirements for each component.
This means that backing up a hybrid cloud and designing a disaster recovery plan for it requires more effort than simply deploying a backup and recovery platform.
Hybrid cloud backup and recovery optimization
This does not mean that traditional cloud disaster recovery strategies cannot work in a hybrid environment at all. They can support hybrid clouds, but this requires more work and may require more financial investment.
For example, an enterprise may need to set aside spare internal deployment server capacity to host a recovery environment in case its production-dedicated servers fail. Or you may find that you have to set up separate backup and restore operations for the private and public parts of a hybrid cloud environment to support the different security requirements and infrastructure characteristics of each component.
Enterprises can back up and restore hybrid cloud environments. But it is expected to require more planning and more investment than a backup standard cloud environment. Technologies such as "indicator light" and "hot standby" can still work in hybrid architectures, but only if they are modified to support the unique requirements of hybrid clouds.