CIO Symmetry

May 13 2010   8:01PM GMT

A hidden benefit of cloud computing disaster recovery

Christina Torode Christina Torode Profile: Christina Torode


Maybe this is obvious to others, but it wasn’t to me when I was talking to a systems integrator about its new cloud computing disaster recovery service.

Although cloud computing is not exactly being embraced by all for disaster recovery, due to incomplete SLAs — and the possibility of the cloud provider actually causing a disruption — there is a flip side.

Many companies buy business continuity operations insurance and have trouble proving the cost of an outage when it comes time to collect from their insurers.

With an on-demand DR plan, that problem can be resolved, said Chris Pyle, CEO of Champion Solutions Group in Boca Raton, Fla.

The company introduced a pay-as-you-use “cloud continuity” DR service. A hurricane hits, a switch is flipped to turn on your backup site, the hurricane subsides, and the switch is turned off.

“Because you’re only paying for what you use, you can send a bill to the insurer that shows the normal state of your operations and compare it to the capacity you needed during the disaster,” he said.

Hey, if it can decrease wrangling with an insurance provider, midmarket companies may be all for it. Still, such a benefit will remain unrealized until midmarket companies start to adopt cloud services for more than online storage and email.

Adoption of the cloud for disaster recovery is on the fast track with SMBs, according to Mike Martin, director of cloud computing at Farmington, Hills, Mich.-based Logicalis Group.

He estimates that 25% of the inquiries about its cloud services are for DR. “They want an infrastructure partner that can keep data synchronous [with their production site], and leverage virtualization to spin up virtual systems for data replication,” he said.

Time will tell if such inquiries turn into implementations. For now, a lot of education is under way, with CIOs still navigating their way through what is really capable in the cloud, and at what cost.

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2  Comments on this Post

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  • Adema
    Mr. Pyle does not appear to understand that a disaster doesn't provide advance warning. His comments relate to disaster avoidance not recovery. The strategy of continuity through redundancy or partial redundancy is old. The old problems still exist, cloud (internet) or otherwise, of data relevance due to update cycles and change control. Real disaster recovery solutions need to be tested periodically for applicability, rigor and volume (infinitely scalability is a notion). This benchmark or baseline should be adequate for insurance purposes.
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  • SLM791
    I think what Mr. Pyle was simply stating is that you can have additional resources when necessary even though your using a small amount of resources consistently for replication of data and testing. With a ‘pay-as-you-use’ cloud DR model, you are in fact recovering from a disaster with current replicated data that resides in the cloud.
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