|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.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Jul. 31, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 304
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,402
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jul. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 458
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 107
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Jul. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 273
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,061
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jul. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,163
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,273
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,185
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,765
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,042
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jul. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,030
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 325
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jul. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,904
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
Jul. 26, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,575
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 392
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,959
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 462
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,539
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,491