Three major cloud platforms suffered outages in just two months.
First, it was Microsoft Azure, then AWS, and finally Google Cloud Services, each suffering global outages which seriously impacted businesses. The outages ranged from nearly one hour to several hours. To customers, that downtime feels like a lifetime.
So how are enterprise organizations utilizing cloud prepared for a major outage like these?
The answer is that most of them don’t have a plan. However, forward-thinking organizations are now implementing DR strategies with data at the core, centrally stored in the middle of a hybrid or multicloud environment. An organization using this strategy could easily fail over to another cloud platform, or even back to HQ on-prem if one or more of their platforms become suddenly unavailable.
Centralizing data in a secure, available private cloud environment is similar to what off-site backup would be in a traditional on-prem DR strategy. Data is replicated in an off-site data center separate from the on-prem infrastructure, accessed using specific backup or DR software. When disaster strikes, that data can be accessed within the parameters of an organization’s recovery time objective (RTO).
The difference with a DR strategy for hybrid and multicloud environments is the addition of centralized storage located in the middle of the environment. In the event that one or more of the cloud or on-prem environments go down, data can be accessed by the other cloud platforms, remote users, and secondary sites seamlessly.
The Hybrid & MultiCloud Disaster Recovery Problem
The first problem organizations face when implementing DR in a hybrid or multicloud environment starts with each individual public cloud. Typically, the cloud provider is responsible for infrastructure uptime, but the onus falls on the customer to protect data and applications. This is further complicated by each provider having its own strategy and method for accessing, creating, moving, and storing data. A moving target for DR.
The next hurdle is a byproduct of data gravity. Enterprise hybrid cloud environments are typically designed to leverage on-prem and a single cloud platform such as AWS, Google, or Azure. With the massive amount of data locked into a platform, should that platform suffer an outage, the result for the customer is devastating. Not only is that data trapped, but so is the enterprise.
To compound the issue, most workforces now have, and continue to support a large percentage of work from home employees. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, enterprise organizations have adjusted their cloud environments to securely accommodate a diverse, remote workforce. When the cloud platform goes down, business stops. It’s that simple.
Enterprise organizations adapting to a multicloud strategy are better positioned to recover if one of their public cloud platforms suffers an outage. A multicloud environment leverages more than one public cloud platform, giving organizations a bit more flexibility in the event one cloud suddenly goes offline. The problem, however, is that the flexibility of multicloud doesn’t exactly translate into achieving a sufficient RTO.
When organizations expand into a multicloud environment, it’s primarily to take advantage of the specifics of each cloud. These advantages can range from financial incentives to technology best suited to particular use cases, or even simply based on geography. The disadvantage comes from each public cloud platform wanting to capture all of their customers’ data rather than share the pie by making it easy – and affordable – to engage in cross-cloud services. That’s the real fly in the ointment when it comes to leveraging multicloud as a DR strategy.
An Easier Path to Disaster Recovery in a Hybrid & MultiCloud World
A successful DR strategy puts data in the middle of hybrid and multicloud environments. There is certainly a lot of buzz around backing up data in multiple clouds. But that just creates more copies of data spread across disparate storage pools. This type of solution is overly complex, costly, and open to a host of security and performance challenges.
Centralizing your data is a simple, effective strategy to overcome the challenges of failover in a hybrid and multicloud environment. By positioning your data in centralized cloud storage in between your on-prem and cloud infrastructures, you’ll have complete control over all of your data. When one platform goes down, your data is readily available to move to a different platform for access. This moves you closer to your recovery point objective (RPO), but legacy storage still creates barriers to potential immediate failover.