With all the benefits of hybrid cloud architectures, you may be wondering why disaster recovery plans are necessary.
After all, if everything’s already cloud-based, what’s to stop you from getting the resources you need when you need them? The truth is that hybrid cloud architectures are highly susceptible to failure and data loss—that’s why it’s so important to have a disaster recovery plan in place.
Also see: Cloud is Down: Protecting Your Organization against Outages
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a set of documents that outlines how an enterprise will recover from a disaster. Disaster recovery plans are important because they help prepare companies for a wide range of disasters.
Creating a plan requires careful analysis of your organization’s business goals, potential threats and risks, backup systems, key data (such as financial reports), recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).
Why Hybrid Cloud Need Disaster Recovery Plans
Disaster recovery plans are necessary for any environment—hybrid cloud architectures included. IT pros can do their best to ensure they’re keeping up with data center management best practices, or some form of DR plan. Still, you need formal documentation on a DR plan if you want your organization’s hybrid cloud environment to operate effectively. Otherwise you run into risks that could lead to downtime or even data loss without it.
For example, what happens if an outage affects an entire region? Will your hybrid cloud architecture be able to handle that type of event? If not, how will you prevent service disruption? And what about disaster scenarios like floods or earthquakes? Can your hybrid cloud architecture withstand these events without causing significant damage or downtime? You should have answers to all of these questions before you implement a hybrid cloud architecture, and a DR plan can help make sure you’re prepared.
Benefits of a DR Plan
A DRP is an essential step in any disaster-preparedness process. Benefits include the following:
- A DRP guides a quick response during emergencies, improving overall efficiency.
- It provides insight into potential risks associated with your hybrid cloud architecture, so you know where you stand going forward.
- DRP helps enterprises reduce downtime by having multiple options for recovering from a failure: Having various options for recovering from a failure helps speed up your response times in an emergency.
- A DRP improves communication between departments: During a crisis, every department must know what it needs to do and how its actions affect other teams within the company.
Also see: 9 Ways AI Can Help Improve Cloud Management
Challenges of Hybrid Cloud for DR
DR plans are a crucial way to minimize risks for hybrid cloud architectures. However, some challenges come with the hybrid cloud. These include:
- Lack of control over where data is located on different cloud platforms.
- Difficulty ensuring data is encrypted consistently across clouds.
- Difficulty replicating data securely between multiple providers.
- Difficulty automating or orchestrating specific steps in creating backup copies of data across different clouds.
- Additional costs involved with managing multiple instances across many public cloud providers.
With these challenges in mind, IT pros should create a plan that outlines how they will implement their DR strategy. This plan should outline:
- How they will replicate data between cloud providers.
- What steps they will take to ensure consistent encryption of all sensitive data across all clouds used by their organization.
- How they will automate or orchestrate specific processes related to DR management.
- What costs they might incur as part of implementing their DR strategy.
Challenges Faced by DR Developers
One of the biggest challenges developers face with disaster recovery is replicating a full stack in an alternate location. Because many modern application stacks combine cloud services and on-premises infrastructure components—such as storage, networking, databases, containers, etc.—it’s challenging to mirror entire stack environments without adding a high cost.
Companies are solving these problems by adding more layers of abstraction between their software layers so they can separate application functions from underlying technical components. This allows them to move certain pieces of their environment into a public cloud while keeping other elements on-premises. This approach will enable them to handle disaster recovery scenarios better because it gives them more flexibility when creating failover plans.
Challenges Faced by Managed Service Providers
The major challenge facing managed service providers (MSPs) when developing a DR plan for hybrid cloud environments is determining which data should be replicated. Different MSPs have different offerings with varying capacities, and they utilize a mix of virtual machines (VMs), physical servers, and containers.
These different infrastructure components come with additional complexity when setting up DR plans; each provider must consider what will be needed if disaster strikes. Additionally, MSPs will have different service-level agreements (SLAs) from vendors in terms of recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs). All these factors must be considered when creating a DR plan.
Challenges Faced by Enterprises
Businesses are demanding hybrid cloud solutions that incorporate multiple clouds and seamlessly integrate existing on-premises systems with cloud services. The challenge lies in ensuring all these solutions can interact without disrupting service. This is where DR plays a key role. DR ensures that enterprises can meet their availability requirements. It also ensures continuity of business operations (COBO) by taking over during emergencies such as natural disasters or equipment failures.
However, due to the complexities involved in implementing DR plans for hybrid cloud environments, many organizations still don’t have them. Organizations need to create effective DR plans that work across platforms—private, public and hosted—and ensure they work with all applications running on those platforms. These plans should be easy to implement while ensuring they offer high levels of protection against data loss or downtime. A good plan should also be flexible enough so it doesn’t require significant changes when IT infrastructure changes.
Also see: Developing a Cloud Modernization Strategy
DRP Best Practices for Hybrid Cloud
Disaster recovery plans are necessary for hybrid cloud architectures because they represent a marriage of two technologies with very different characteristics. Therefore, creating DR plans is both essential and challenging. Plus, hybrid cloud environments introduce additional complexities into DR planning. Here’s how to approach disaster recovery planning in these environments.
Plan for On-Premises Failure
If your environment relies on a single data center, it’s essential to plan for what happens if that facility goes down or an earthquake or flood. It’s not just about implementing redundant servers; it also means developing a strategy around how applications can failover when required.
Consider Application Dependencies
When designing a DR plan for hybrid cloud architectures, it’s important to think about each application individually and its role within your infrastructure. For example, does a particular app need to be up and running before others can go live? Does it rely on another app being operational? The answers will help determine how each application needs to be recovered in an emergency.
Determine which Apps Require Manual Intervention
In many cases, automated DR processes may work fine for hybrid cloud architectures. However, if you’re dealing with sensitive data or mission-critical apps, it might make sense to implement manual procedures as part of your DR plan. This ensures that only authorized individuals handle tasks like bringing critical apps back online following a disruption.
Ensure Architecture Accommodates Partial Failures
Since hybrid cloud architectures consist of several parts, including on-premises servers and offsite VMs, it’s easy to overlook what happens if individual pieces stop working properly. Ideally, you want your DR plan to include provisions for dealing with minor issues so that major problems don’t cause widespread outages.
Test your DRP Regularly
Once you have a solid disaster recovery plan, test it periodically to ensure everything works as expected under pressure. You never know when something could go wrong, so it’s best to find any potential flaws now rather than during a real crisis.
Update your DRP Periodically
As time passes, things change in terms of technology and business requirements. To ensure your DR plan remains relevant and effective, keep it updated by incorporating new features along with any changes made to existing ones.
In today’s hybrid cloud world, DR plans are an absolute necessity – disasters can strike at any time, and they’re not always preventable despite what we might like to think. If you’re operating a hybrid cloud environment, you need disaster recovery plans that take into account all of your environments.
These DR plans should cover everything from business continuity considerations to technological considerations; even if you have multiple data centers (on-premises) or regions (cloud), there are still commonalities between them that make it possible to create one plan that covers both.
IT pros must understand why disaster recovery is vital in hybrid cloud environments before they can begin creating their own plans; as with many things, it’s better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to planning for disasters.
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