|By Jamal Mazhar||
|November 30, 2012 03:00 PM EST||
Use of cloud for DR solutions is becoming more common, even the organizations which are not using cloud for mission critical production applications are moving towards using cloud for application DR.
Business Case for Using Cloud for the DR
Faster Recovery Time Objective (RTO): Typically DR requires lengthy manual processes to fully restore the business applications at the DR site. Having backup data and servers at the DR site is easy, however, restoring the entire application or service takes time. E.g. full application restoration requires starting services in specified order, performing dns and other configuration updates etc. In Cloud, the IaaS APIs provide ability to use automation solutions like Kaavo IMOD to fully restore the business applications automatically without manual intervention. As a result organizations get predictable recovery and reduced RTO. Automating the service or application recovery can reduce RTO to minutes from hours or days.
Shorter Recovery Point Objective (RPO): Instead of relying on offsite tape backups, organizations can reduce their RPO to minutes by maintaining near real-time data backups in the Cloud. For faster transfer of large data dedicated lines can be established between the customer datacenters and the cloud. The cost of the dedicated line depends on the distance of the customer datacenter from the cloud providers' peering point. For most use cases VPN lines over internet are sufficient for transferring data between customer datacenter and the cloud.
Lower Costs: Typically organizations pay high price for standby infrastructure, especially servers at the DR site. Using cloud there is no need to pay for the servers when they are not in use at the DR site. Pay as you use infrastructure model significantly reduces DR costs without compromising the service levels.
Following are some of the best practices and lessons learned from the Cloud DR solutions we have implemented so far:
Cloud DR is Different than Traditional DR
Unlike traditional DR solutions which relies on having a backup infrastructure for the entire datacenter requiring large and costly implementation, Cloud DR can be implemented incrementally application by application. For example it is common for organizations to have a large shared database with multiple schemas supporting various applications. In majority of cases this sharing is driven by server consolidation to increase the utilization of internal infrastructure. Not all applications using a shared database have same service level requirements. Some applications are more critical than others, so as long as schemas and application data is different, it is better to remove the dependency on shared database by having the right size database for each application in the cloud. This allows optimal prioritization and incremental delivery of the DR project based on the service levels of the individual applications.
Migration of Applications Using Single Sign-on with LDAP
When planning DR for individual applications it is important to identify the dependent services and making sure that the dependent services would be available as a part of the DR solution. Enterprise customers typically use Single Sign-on with LDAP for managing authentication. So best practice is to treat the Single Sign-on Service as the critical application and implement the DR solution for bringing up the Single Sign-on Service first during the DR process. An automation solution like Kaavo IMOD enables customers to restore applications and services in the specified order automatically during DR without any manual intervention. During a real DR scenario there are many things going and it is easy to make mistakes under pressure if the application restoration process is not fully automated. To prevent surprises during actual DR, it is important to have a fully automated solution for restoring applications and services.
Restoring Back to Normal Operations after DR
This is one area which is often overlooked or under planned in DR projects. For companies using their own datacenters for production applications and using cloud for DR, processes and automation must be implemented to fully restore the applications in the customer production datacenter using the latest data from the cloud DR once the primary datacenter is back online. This step is not required for applications which are using cloud as their primary site. E.g. if an application is running in one cloud zone and after DR it is running in a different cloud zone there is no need to restore it back to the first cloud zone as long as service levels for both cloud zones are same. If you are deploying new applications it best to design for failure. E.g. a distributed application running across various regions and cloud providers eliminate the need for traditional DR planning for the application as handling of failure of individual components is built in the design and deployment model of the application.
Handling Compliance in Cloud, e.g., HIPAA, PCI, SOX, SAS-70 etc.
Using available security technologies and processes several companies have implemented applications in the cloud compliant to various compliance standards, e.g. HIPAA, PCI, SOX, SAS-70 etc. Each compliance standard has its own nuances; basically with proper planning you can address all compliance related issues. This is a big topic on its own so please contact us if you have specific questions about this. Cloud providers have published various case studies and best practices, e.g. white paper by Amazon on HIPAA compliance.
Handling Public and Private DNS
A common use case for enterprise applications is to have a public DNS for public access and a private DNS over internal network for accessing the backend services and databases etc. In these situations it is best to use virtual private cloud like AWS VPC or to overlay a private network with the same IP address range as internal datacenter on any public cloud using Open Source solutions (refer to this blog - Building a Private Cloud within a Public Cloud for details on how to implement a secure private network on any public cloud). For updating the public DNS entries for the restored application in the cloud we use DNS automation services like AWS Route 53 or EasyDNS. Leveraging these services, Kaavo IMOD automatically updates the Public DNS for the applications as a part of the restoration during DR.
Keeping Application Database Up-To-Date
It is common for applications to have large databases. Moving the data to the cloud and keeping it current requires first loading the entire database in cloud and then sending and merging incremental data to the database in the cloud. To address this use case instead of maintaining a hot backup we use Kaavo IMOD to automatically bring up the database servers in cloud whenever the new incremental backup is available and merge the incremental backup then save the merged database and shutdown the servers in the cloud. This way in case of DR we always have the latest merged database available for restoring the application. This approach provides reasonable RTO without incurring the additional costs of maintaining a hot database backup.
Applying and Maintaining Patches
A typical application requires following two types of updates during its lifecycle:
Updating Application Code: This is quite easy as using Kaavo IMOD we setup automation to pick up the latest code and configuration for the application from the production deployment. This automation ensures that the application code and configuration changes for the new release of the application or service are available in the cloud for the DR.
OS Patches and Third-Party Software Updates: Sometimes custom patches or updates to third party software or OS are required. For these types of changes it is best to include them as a part of change control process requiring sign-off from the team owning the DR process. The DR team can review the change and if required make and test the needed changes to DR automation for the application.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Apr. 30, 2017 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 7,481
Is your application too difficult to manage? Do changes take dozens of developers hundreds of hours to execute, and frequently result in downtime across all your site’s functions? It sounds like you have a monolith! A monolith is one of the three main software architectures that define most applications. Whether you’ve intentionally set out to create a monolith or not, it’s worth at least weighing the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches and deciding which one makes the most s...
Apr. 30, 2017 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,089
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability ...
Apr. 30, 2017 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,772
When you decide to launch a startup company, business advisors, counselors, bankers and armchair know-it-alls will tell you that the first thing you need to do is get funding. While there is some validity to that boilerplate piece of wisdom, the availability of and need for startup funding has gone through a dramatic transformation over the past decade, and the next few years will see even more of a shift. A perfect storm of events is causing this seismic shift. On the macroeconomic side this ...
Apr. 30, 2017 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 736
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
Apr. 30, 2017 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,108
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Apr. 30, 2017 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,949
A Man in the Middle attack, or MITM, is a situation wherein a malicious entity can read/write data that is being transmitted between two or more systems (in most cases, between you and the website that you are surfing). MITMs are common in China, thanks to the “Great Cannon.” The “Great Cannon” is slightly different from the “The Great Firewall.” The firewall monitors web traffic moving in and out of China and blocks prohibited content. The Great Cannon, on the other hand, acts as a man in the...
Apr. 30, 2017 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 585
To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.
Apr. 30, 2017 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,967
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
Apr. 30, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 9,499
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Apr. 30, 2017 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 6,286
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Apr. 30, 2017 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 9,299
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Apr. 29, 2017 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,640
This recent research on cloud computing from the Register delves a little deeper than many of the "We're all adopting cloud!" surveys we've seen. They found that meaningful cloud adoption and the idea of the cloud-first enterprise are still not reality for many businesses. The Register's stats also show a more gradual cloud deployment trend over the past five years, not any sort of explosion. One important takeaway is that coherence across internal and external clouds is essential for IT right n...
Apr. 28, 2017 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,010
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
Apr. 28, 2017 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,994
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, will discuss how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He will discuss how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Apr. 28, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,494
In large enterprises, environment provisioning and server provisioning account for a significant portion of the operations team's time. This often leaves users frustrated while they wait for these services. For instance, server provisioning can take several days and sometimes even weeks. At the same time, digital transformation means the need for server and environment provisioning is constantly growing. Organizations are adopting agile methodologies and software teams are increasing the speed ...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,544
Software as a service (SaaS), one of the earliest and most successful cloud services, has reached mainstream status. According to Cisco, by 2019 more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud, up from 65 percent today. The majority of this traffic will be applications. Businesses of all sizes are adopting a variety of SaaS-based services – everything from collaboration tools to mission-critical commerce-oriented applications. The rise in SaaS usage has m...
Apr. 22, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 5,118
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, drew upon his own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He also discussed the implementation of microservices in data and application integrat...
Apr. 22, 2017 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 6,556
We'd all like to fulfill that "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" cliché. But in reality, every job (even if it's our dream job) comes with its downsides. For you, the constant fight against shadow IT might get on your last nerves. For your developer coworkers, infrastructure management is the roadblock that stands in the way of focusing on coding. As you watch more and more applications and processes move to the cloud, technology is coming to developers' rescue-most r...
Apr. 22, 2017 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,289
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
Apr. 22, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,852