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Modern organizations rely heavily on having consistent access to their applications and data in order to function.

For example, consider how your business would be affected if it couldn’t retrieve mission-critical files needed for daily operations. For many businesses, this situation would bring operations to a grinding halt.

This is why many cloud companies push their uptime as a vital statistic, guaranteeing a high uptime percentage so that you have consistent access to data. But, what happens if a cloud server crashes or a data center is completely lost?

When a server is lost to some catastrophic event, businesses need to have some kind of backup strategy in place to minimize the impact of this data loss.

About Backups

The terms “backup” and “replication” often get treated pretty interchangeably by other companies. While both systems have the same goal of reducing the impact of data loss, there are some distinctions to make.

When you refer to a backup, you're generally referring to a local copy of a user’s cloud environment. In other words, backups live in the same data center as the servers that host your cloud services.

Some of the major players will use snapshots as their backup mechanism. However, if that array dies, the snapshots will disappear. Ideally, snapshots should be used for short-term backups, if a snapshot is allowed to “live” for longer than 24-48 hours, it will have an impact on performance when the restore finally happens, potentially locking up the machine.

Snapshots are useful for patching and updates, but not for long-term restore point creation.

In most cases, the size of a backup will be matched to the size of your production storage. So, if you have 10GB of production, your backup will be 10GB as well, whether or not you need 100% of it. Having some extra room in the backup can be beneficial for creating extra restore points and for handling unexpected data growth.

Backups that pull the full server, then the differentials from each day to merge the files offer great flexibility for creating restore points while minimizing downtime.

About Replication

At first, replication sounds very similar to backups. While both fulfill the function of restoring a company’s servers to a state close to when their servers went down, replication is typically done at a different data center from the one used for the primary server.

This adds some geo-diversity to a company’s servers, helping to make sure that a disaster at one data center won’t bring down all of the servers a company uses. Replications can be handled in a few different ways, depending on the needs of the company using the cloud:

  • “Cold” Replications. These replications could also be called “low priority,” as they’re not designed for fast recovery time objectives or recovery point objectives. Basically, a cold replication is mainly used as a remote backup to make sure that a business’ entire cloud service doesn’t go down with a single server loss.
  •  “Warm” Replications. Here, the backup server is “aware” of the remote data center’s virtual infrastructure. Resources at the extra data center are reserved; enabling faster deployment once the replication environment is activated.
  •  “Hot” Replication. A “hot” replication environment is optimized to fulfill business continuity objectives, with faster RTOs than warm replication environments.

Typically, the faster the RTO and the more recent the RPO, the more expensive replication services will be.

When you’re looking at cloud service providers, asking exactly how their backup/replication services work can help you assess how prepared they are to meet your company’s RTO and RPO needs.

Learn how WHOA.com handles data backup and replication today!

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery - WHOA.com