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Disaster recovery in the cloud

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There’s a relatively new option now available for these organizations, a hybrid cloud disaster recovery (DR) service. An evolution of cloud backup, hybrid cloud DR allows companies to get critical application servers’ data off-site as virtual machine (VM) images. These VMs can then be started and run from the cloud, providing a recovery time of minutes at a cost that’s more in line with a typical company’s budget.

Hybrid cloud for backing up data and servers

Hybrid cloud backup refers to services that use an on-site appliance to collect backups from individual client machines and then handle the transfer of those data sets to the cloud. Most of these appliances combine storage capacity and compute power with a backup application to produce a turnkey replacement for traditional on-site backup infrastructure. With data stored on-site they can provide for restores locally, eliminating the issues of bandwidth and long wait times for restores that “pure” cloud backup services often suffer from.

While a hybrid appliance can address the problems with cloud file restores, it can’t help when the data center is under water. For those situations, a cloud disaster recovery service can be an effective and economical solution.

Starting with a hybrid backup appliance, these vendors have added software to convert physical server images to virtual machine images and store them on-site. With embedded compute power as well as storage, the appliance

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can host these VMs and provide a local high-availability (HA) solution for these servers. On the back end, the appliance transfers its stored VM images to the cloud, which has compute resources available to restart the VMs and run them from the cloud in the event of a disaster. Hybrid cloud DR products use differential technologies and data reduction, as the hybrid cloud backup products do, to improve efficiency and support multiple recovery points.

This was first published in August 2012

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