|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.
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
Jun. 27, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,000
Gartner is now treating algorithms like they are some kind of innovative addition to the modern digital discussion. Presumably the brilliant minds there have some novel insight into algorithms and, yes, the Algorithm Economy that CIOs should sit up and take notice of. Not only are algorithms nothing new, but much of what Gartner is saying about them is obvious. The bigger picture here is that software continues to improve, and enterprises are becoming increasingly software-driven, in part bec...
Jun. 17, 2016 04:07 PM EDT Reads: 804
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Jun. 12, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,167
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Jun. 12, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,732
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...
Jun. 8, 2016 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,612
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Jun. 8, 2016 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 4,132
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Jun. 8, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,293
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
Jun. 8, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,265
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City, and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
Jun. 8, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,444
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the g...
Jun. 8, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,719
Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) will feature the upcoming 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in a New York news documentary about the "New IT for the Future." The documentary will cover how big companies are transmitting or adopting the new IT for the future and will be filmed on the expo floor between June 7-June 9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. KBS has long been a leader in the development of the broadcasting culture of Korea. As the key public service broadcaster of Korea...
Jun. 8, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,623
SYS-CON Events announced today that Addteq will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Addteq is one of the top 10 Platinum Atlassian Experts who specialize in DevOps, custom and continuous integration, automation, plugin development, and consulting for midsize and global firms. Addteq firmly believes that automation is essential for successful software releases. Addteq centers its products a...
Jun. 8, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,599
In the rush to compete in the digital age, a successful digital transformation is essential, but many organizations are setting themselves up for failure. There’s a common misconception that the process is just about technology, but it’s not. It’s about your business. It shouldn’t be treated as an isolated IT project; it should be driven by business needs with the committed involvement of a range of stakeholders.
Jun. 8, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,661
SYS-CON Events announced today that FalconStor Software® Inc., a 15-year innovator of software-defined storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FalconStor Software®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is a leading software-defined storage company offering a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined storage and data services platform. Its flagship solution FreeStor®, utilizes a horizonta...
Jun. 7, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,262
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
Jun. 7, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,987
SYS-CON Events announced today that Column Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a global technology solutions provider with over 400 employees, headquartered in the United States with offices in Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. Column Technologies provides “Best of Breed” technology solutions that automate the key DevOps principal...
Jun. 7, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,410
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Jun. 7, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,799
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Jun. 7, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,824
SYS-CON Events announced today that Anexia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Anexia offers high-quality customized managed hosting solutions for SaaS and IaaS companies. The company was founded in 2006 in Klagenfurt, Austria. Today, it has additional offices in Vienna, Graz, Munich, Cologne and New York City to serve numerous international customers.
Jun. 7, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,959
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Jun. 7, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,966