"A couple of our customers [including SaaS companies Xactly and Accept Software] started using Aryaka to replicate data from our East Coast to West Coast data centers," Beck says. "One of the great things about the cloud, with its elasticity and flexibility, is that you don't need to have separate conversations with vendors about data replication and disaster recovery. Those discussions get merged. You're no longer forced to have assets at one end sitting idle waiting for a disaster to happen. You can be using additional capacity for data replication between two sites, but in the event of a disaster, you can spin up compute assets in the secondary site on demand."
Neufeld of Leisureworld Senior Care had a similar experience. He deployed Riverbed appliances to overcome bandwidth limitations and replicate data from nursing and retirement homes back to the home office. Each home only has a cable modem or DSL connection. Once Riverbed was in place, Neufeld was able to deploy the virtual backup solution from Veeam. "Without WAN optimization, we wouldn't have had the bandwidth for this," he says.
What the Cloud Does and Does not do for DR
The cloud is putting DR in reach of even the smallest organizations. SMBs may not have the time or IT savvy to sketch out a full-blown DR plan, but they can certainly sign up for cloud-based backup and recovery solutions. For the mid-market, more involved DR is also in reach, often augmented by WAN optimization and a variety of cloud-based services.
The short list of benefits that come from moving DR into the cloud includes lower TCO, the ability to consume DR as a service, the ability to get DR as an add-on to data replication and the fact that DR is dovetailing with mobility.
If you're a small organization that doesn't have to pass compliance audits every year, simply signing up for a cloud-based backup and DR service may well be sufficient for you. However, if your organization is larger and regulated, you'll need to put a lot more thought behind those DR plans, and many large organizations still haven't done this.
Consider this scenario: the vacant lot next to your building has been sold, and a construction crew has moved in to start building a new office tower. This has nothing to do with your DR plans, right?
"If there's a construction site near you, or especially if there's construction in your building, we recommend to our clients that they get a rider on their insurance policy in the event that they're displaced as a result of the work being done," says Ginnie Stouffer, a master certified business continuity professional with IDC Partners, a business continuity firm in King of Prussia, Penn.