Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cloud for IT Continuity

Typically a DR site goes live when the main DC goes offline or fails. Quite often, the IT infrastructure at the DR site sits idle waiting for an untoward incident to be kicked back into life. In some cases, the infrastructure at DR site is used to host development & QA environments also.DR sites are typically activated for a short period of time and when the main site/DC is restored, the DR goes back to idle state.So,is there an alternative to blocking investments in a DR site using the evolution in the technologies used in DC and still ensure continuity of operations?

Can cloud & cloud based services provide enterprise with the desired level of continuity along with financial flexibility? In my opinion, this is a subject worth further exploration.

During a disaster, you either operate at same or reduced business service SLA’s around performance & availability as from the main site. The requirements from the DR site are “elastic” in nature. Most of the time,they compute requirement around CPU, memory is pretty low except when activated and operations are run from the DR site.Usually it is the storage that has a consistent use. Now, one of the major advantages of cloud computing is to meet elastic demands. Put two and two together..i feel there has to be a case to use cloud for IT continuity!

One of the possible challenges is the consistency of the virtualization technology within the enterprise with that of the cloud computing provider.I do not think the cloud computing providers fraternity has something of an intra-operable virtualized images across different cloud providers and private cloud platforms..(or maybe they have and this is something i have not tracked in the google-sphere yet!). So basically what that means is you are stuck with those set of cloud computing providers who use the same virtualization technology as you use in-house in your DC’s for the time being,but compared to having idle investment in your dedicated DR sites, this may be a small trade-off.

Some points that i can think of while evaluating the cloud platforms for DR & IT service continuity is – licensing of your existing applications; then again does the licensing allow you to run the apps from a cloud computing setup, connectivity options to allow migration of large amount of data/images to the cloud computing provider’s setup, how are you going to keep the images of your apps etc in the cloud environment up-to-date with necessary patches, security policies of the providers and client access mechanism.

Disclaimer: This post has been written by Tajeshwar Singh, who is an Enterprise Solution Architect from HCL  ISD. To read more of his posts go to www.

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