Disaster Recovery can be a “Free” Consequence of Cloud Computing

In the world of disaster recovery, one of the challenges is getting people to approve budget for having the right DR capabilities in place. Unless you are dealing with enlightened senior management, it’s not always easy to get people to sign off for events that may or may not come about, at some indeterminate time in the future. While it’s important to continue the process of education and to keep passing the message about the need to properly prepared, cloud computing offers a parallel “get it for free” approach.

The idea is that cloud computing can already bring real financial benefits to an organisation and can be adopted on that basis alone. Thanks to the flexibility and scalability of cloud computing, organisations can avoid large capital expenditure for upgrading computing resources. But further to this, virtualisation in the cloud opens the door to a host of different back-up, recovery and resilience options. By defining virtual machines in the cloud, an IT department can take back-up beyond the level of simple data replication to a stage where a complete computing environment can be continually mirrored. Recovery can be as simple as rerouting users over the net to the mirrored environment. And for the bean-counters, the good news is that many providers have a “pay-as-you-go” solution, where such virtual machines are only paid for when they are used.

In addition, overall resilience can benefit from such virtual machines being available for load balancing. While spreading the load between such virtual machines means using them and therefore paying for that usage, it’s by no means the same as paying for whole new systems. By bringing resources online as they are needed and avoiding existing machines from collapsing under the weight of more and more users, IT departments can avoid downtime or “brown-outs” altogether. That means more overall productivity, more profitability and ultimately more good news for the accounting department.