Against a high-profile, high-stakes backdrop of a global rise in cyber attacks and data losses, efficient disaster recovery has become a top priority for businesses all over the world.

  • Active, speedy disaster rehabilitation and the ability to future-proof data storage has never been more important
  • Virtualisation through the cloud allows the entire server to be copied or backed up to an offsite data centre
  • Hybrid cloud models hold tremendous potential for what can be achieved in disaster recovery

Understandably so; agility in data recovery can entirely dictate the immediate and future fortunes of your business, while the ability to future-proof data storage has never been more important.

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First introduced in embryonic form in the 1970s, disaster recovery is now most cost-effectively realised in the cloud, delivering fast recovery times and multi-site availability at an accessible, affordable level. Effectively then, in a single stroke, what was only available to the few is now available to all, and there’s no more need for backup tapes.

Through virtualization, the entire server can be copied or backed up to an offsite data centre and run as the live system on a virtual host within a matter of minutes, instead of what once took weeks. That massive shift has completely changed how we all think about off-site data recovery.

Thanks to the virtual server being hardware-dependent, everything can be safely and accurately transferred to a second data centre without the headache of reloading each component of the first data centre.

Smart data centre operators are providing full disaster recovery services that not only replicate the servers between date centres but also replicate the entire network configuration in a way that recovered the network as quickly as the backed up cloud servers.

Furthermore, cloud technology has allowed businesses to outsource their disaster recovery needs, providing much greater flexibility. Indeed, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is easily scalable should companies want to expand or contract their operation according to market needs. It’s also big business with the DRaaS market predicted to be worth $6.4billion by 2020.

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Nevertheless, while the cloud offers the best method currently available – and an excellent one at that – there is plenty of development still to come, particularly when the sophistication of threats continues to advance at the same rate as new technology.

Today’s best-of-breed solutions enable companies to produce a live clone of their production environment and use it as a development and test platform that doesn’t impact day-to-day operations. Moving this workload entirely into the cloud immediately eliminates the need for cumbersome and expensive maintenance of development environments.

A hybrid cloud model combined with on-premise backup holds significant potential, ensuring that company data in the cloud and information stored physically is continuously replicated and synched so that companies can rapidly recover onsite or from the cloud as need dictates.

However, the real disaster recovery advancements are likely to come from those service providers that integrate new technologies available in the marketplace with their innovations to ensure the customer experience is the best possible. As always, those that can offer the speed, reliability and competitive cost that the market demands, will be the winners – but the ability to shift data upon request between various sites while attaining always-on availability will be crucial.

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The cloud is creating an unprecedented level of scalability, and the sky is surely the limit for the disaster recovery needs of the future.