Instead of investing solely in a public cloud or privately managed infrastructure, hybrid cloud delivers the luxury of combining the core functions of both in one package.
In return, organisations benefit from an integrated IT environment that delivers a better user experience, increased resiliency and greater flexibility.
Flexibility is key here as it enables the hybrid cloud to accommodate a wide range of applications, including backup and disaster recovery (DR).
In fact, an IDG Research survey reveals that 56% of respondents say the hybrid cloud improves their DR capabilities.
We have an idea that DR is a big reason organisations are shifting towards these mixed infrastructures.
Now let’s examine how the hybrid cloud is turning potential into tangible benefits.
1. Comprehensive DR on a budget
A complete DR solution has traditionally been both complex and expensive to deploy.
Ideally, an organisation has two locations: a primary data centre and a separate location that supports the operation should the main site fail.
But maintaining this type of environment is cost prohibitive, hence the reason why secondary sites are mostly deployed by larger companies with deep pockets and fully staffed IT departments.
After all, resources in the form of server hardware, storage devices, bandwidth, and manpower are required to run two locations. And the bigger the workloads, the bigger the demand.
Thanks to the flexible pay-as-you-go pricing model of the cloud, DR suddenly goes from cost prohibitive to cost effective. With no need to pour excess funds into physical resources, smaller businesses can spend their IT budgets in ways that would not have been possible before.
Also, the immediate availability of built-in Windows tools such as Hyper-V Replica and various SaaS-based applications allows network managers to replicate data to the cloud and manage disaster recovery operations without buying additional licenses.
As a result, getting that secondary site up and running is easier and more affordable than ever.
2. Simplified disaster recovery management
Simplicity is among the biggest advantages a hybrid cloud brings to disaster recovery.
When partnering with a cloud service provider, the vendor assumes the responsibility of setup, configuration, ongoing maintenance, and monitoring the physical environment.
For the user, managing this dual infrastructure is as simple as switching between primary and secondary DR sites from one centralised interface. This is a huge perk for organisations at any level.
Even major corporations can benefit from time savings that allow them to focus on core competencies and carving out a competitive edge.
3. The ideal backup target
Simply having one backup copy of data isn’t enough.
Businesses need a copy they can immediately access onsite, and at least one other copy tucked away in an offsite location. A hybrid cloud helps to bulletproof data protection strategy by providing that secondary backup destination.
If an organisation doesn’t have access to another facility for whatever reason, the public cloud can stand in as the location used for offsite backups. Cloud storage is often cheaper than traditional storage, so designating it as a backup target might make perfect business sense.
4. Compliance made easy
For businesses that are subject to compliance standards, hosting sensitive data in the public cloud is a risky proposition.
Rules and regulations surrounding who has access to information and how long it is retained mean the business has to remain cautious about inviting a third party into the picture.
The hybrid cloud offers a compromise by allowing a business to replicate and encrypt data in its own private network before sending it to the recovery site. In a properly managed environment, meeting both business continuity needs and compliance requirements is much easier.
5. The scalability factor
Organisations need their most vital IT infrastructure components to be able to grow as their business grows.
A DR solution is no exception. In a traditional environment, outgrowing a server requires a business to buy, install and manage new hardware. In a cloud scenario, they have the ability to tap into a bottomless capacity and scale up on an as-needed basis.
The virtually limitless scalability of cloud computing allows an organisation to deploy countless virtual servers and even operate multiple recovery sites if business demands it.
The hybrid cloud is rapidly changing how the enterprise approaches disaster recovery. We have the ability to use the public cloud as a both a backup destination and fully functioning offsite location all while retaining a comfortable level of control from the confines of our own private network.
Sure, there are challenges as far as security and recovery times are concerned.
But if businesses go in with a plan that addresses data protection, recovery objectives, and other concerns, they can tilt the balance in their favour to ensure that the positives outweigh the negatives.
Article by Marina Brook, head of Sales APAC, StorageCraft Asia Pacific