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Cloud Disaster Recovery is Just Pie in the Sky (at least right now)

by on March 10, 2010

DR_cloud_computing While some cloud computing vendors would like you to believe backing up data to the nimbus is the same as disaster recovery from it, it isn’t. Cloud backup involves replicating data and storing it off the premises of its owner, usually in another geographic area. Disaster recovery services, where data and applications can be shared by geographically disparate groups, isn’t quite here yet. That hasn’t stopped some cloud vendors from re-branding their offerings with “disaster recovery,” although what they’re actually offering is nothing more than electronic vaulting and data duplication.

One selling point of cloud computing is that it’s cost effective. That’s largely true, but even simple cloud backups have costs connected to them that can surprise. Typically, you’ll have to purchase software for your locations that are backing up their information to the ether. In addition, you may need some bodies at your end of things to keep tabs on your local operations. That’s especially true if your scheme includes components that must be maintained for the backup process.

The cost of recovering data when disaster strikes can also be an eye opener–especially if you need your data fast. The faster you need your data, the bigger the “pipe” you’ll have to pay for to deliver it. In addition, cloud vendors can charge fees for transferring data to and from their servers. Those fees can burn money faster than a Hummer burns gasoline. In fact, small- and mid-sized businesses, which are often tantalized by the cloud, may find that when they do the math, the fees amount to more than the total cost of operating an in-house system.

Because of the demands disaster recovery can impose on a cloud backup, some hybrid solutions have emerged in the market. Those schemes usually call for some in-house appliance to be paired with a cloud service and information to be synchronized between the two.

Placing your disaster recovery plans in the cloud may sound like a good idea, but only until disaster strikes. Then it will become pie in the sky and you’ll end up with egg on your face.

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