BlogHybrid Cloud Means Never Having to Say DR…

Cloud Computing Consulting - Advanced Systems Group

IDC often mentions how concepts such as backup and recovery, disaster recovery (DR) and high availability (HA) are all vestiges of 2nd Platform technology. The 1st Platform was the mainframe, and the 2nd is the client/server era. What IDC deems as the 3rd platform of computing — social, mobile, cloud and big data — is now the technology platform that is rapidly transforming IT much faster than the first and second platforms ever did.

As a result, cloud-based services are making businesses rethink their traditional 2nd Platform approaches to their disaster recovery plans. In an effort to reduce data center infrastructure costs and complexity, there is now a growing interest in cloud-based solutions such as Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS), the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers to provide complete application failover using the economics of the cloud.

In essence, using a hybrid cloud model for disaster recovery for critical business applications changes the DR discussion to the idea of just having application availability. As applications become available over a wide area, separate HA and DR infrastructure will not be needed to offer these capabilities. IT organizations need to think beyond HA and DR and architect their solutions for application availability.

“We believe that, by 2025, IT organizations will no longer have a need for separate HA and DR infrastructure,” said Phil Goodwin, research director, IDC. “Rather, hybrid cloud and multicloud environments and the appropriate tools will create continuous application availability without specialized infrastructure or operations. Although markets such as DR as a service, archive as a service, and backup as a service are hot markets today and should be addressed, IT suppliers need to prepare to pivot to application availability in the future.”

A natural progression in business continuity is to extend beyond cloud-based backups into cloud-facilitated DRaaS options. Financially, this approach is a more viable option compared to using traditional mirroring/replication models to a failover hot site.

But not so fast Mojo Jojo, how can you say the DRaaS is more cost-effective?

Well, setting up a secondary physical DR site means making significant capital expenditures, and I believe NetApp has a better hybrid cloud based solution by adding a cloud-based secondary copy of your on-premises system with the help of Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

A major advantage of using Cloud Volumes ONTAP is the ability to automatically balance data between a capacity storage tier for colder data and a performance tier for fast access. Depending on the cloud vendor being used, Cloud Volumes ONTAP will use the capacity tier, which provides significant cost savings for large amounts of data that are infrequently accessed, but that must still be available on-demand. When the data is required, it is transparently moved to the performance tier, and will age back out to the capacity tier when it is no longer in active use.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is able to transparently apply transformations, which help to reduce storage space usage, to the data it stores. Data deduplication collapses identical copies of a block into a single block, with reference pointers inserted into every place the block is used. This can dramatically reduce storage space requirements, with some customers reporting savings of up to 70%. A small amount of storage space is consumed in order to maintain the metadata required to support the block mappings.

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Data in an ONTAP storage volume can be transparently compressed without requiring any changes to client applications and services. This compression is applied to groups of consecutive blocks, as opposed to entire files, which makes reading and updating highly optimal. Data compression can also be used in conjunction with data deduplication.

Cloud storage can be quite expensive, but NetApp is constantly innovating and extending the capabilities of the ONTAP platform, and data compaction is one of the more recent features to be introduced that can lower costs. After applying inline data deduplication and compression, multiple blocks that are not filled are combined together, removing the unused of space that would have otherwise been left in each block.

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About the Author

Mark Teter

Mark Teter, Corporate Technologist

In his role, Mark is responsible for the strategic direction of ASG’s emerging technology offerings and advancing the deployment of present-day hybrid cloud solutions for our customers. Mark has served as Faculty Staff Member at Colorado State University and has written over 50 white papers on subjects including Data Center Ethernet, Linux and Open Source, Storage Area Networks and Computer Virtualization. He published Paradigm Shift in 2006, a book on emerging technologies. He is a Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect.