Cloud Disaster Recovery, OK, but what if the Cloud IS the Disaster?

Disaster recovery via cloud computing is a hot topic nowadays. Inexpensive compared to traditional hot standby solutions and with greater flexibility, by definition cloud data backup is independent of local or even regional incidents. In theory, cloud data restore should be just as independent. The problem however comes when a cloud provider fails to provide the service you need – for example, if everybody is trying to recover their data after being affected by the same disaster.

The heart of the problem is the guarantee of the level of service of the cloud provider. Just like the SaaS solutions that became the first wave of cloud solutions, service level agreements correctly adapted to requirements are what count. This has given rise to yet another “as-a-service” offering. After SaaS (Software as a Service), HaaS (Hardware as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service), to name just a few, the next in line is DRaaS – Disaster Recovery as a Service.

Now that we have a label for it, we can separate out DRaaS from other cloud services and look for levels of service specific to disaster recovery. So far so good, but there are a few more points that need to be checked as well. The first is that SLAs notwithstanding, you also need to test your backup and recovery procedure. Secondly, you also need to be sure ahead of time that data security is correctly addressed by your DRaaS provider.

In addition, if the unthinkable (but not impossible) happens and your cloud provider stops doing business, then you also need to be sure you still have at least a minimum DR solution available. An example is to maintain onsite copies of the data you’ve been backing up, so that you can at least go back to tape archiving or something similar.