Is Amazon Web Service (AWS) Cloud Supports Best Cost Effective & High Performance Modern Disaster Recovery?

Disaster recovery (DR) is about preparing for and recovering from a disaster. Any event that has a negative impact on a company’s business continuity or finances could be termed a disaster. This includes hardware or software failure, a network outage, a power outage, physical damage to a building like fire or flooding, human error, or some other significant event. To minimize the impact of a disaster, companies invest time and resources to plan and prepare, to train employees, and to document and update processes. The amount of investment for DR planning for a particular system can vary dramatically depending on the cost of a potential outage. Companies that have traditional physical environments typically must duplicate their infrastructure to ensure the availability of spare capacity in the event of a disaster. The infrastructure needs to be procured, installed, and maintained so that it is ready to support the anticipated capacity requirements. During normal operations, the infrastructure typically is under-utilized or over-provisioned. With Amazon Web Services (AWS), companies can scale up its infrastructure on an as-needed, pay-as-you-go basis. AWS also gives the flexibility to quickly change and optimize resources during a DR event, which can result in significant cost savings.

Cloud infrastructure is gaining in popularity for organizations that have very real business needs that rely on information technology (IT) infrastructure but struggle with the costs—both capital and operational—of expanding their data centers. A computing model in which the equipment—including servers, storage, and networking components—used to support an organization's IT operations is hosted by a service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running, and maintaining it, with the client typically paying on a per-use basis.

Today, more than three-quarters (82%) of organizations have plans to leverage cloud-based services to some extent over the next five years. DR is an ideal use case for taking advantage of the cloud. While many organizations remain cautious about placing production services in the cloud, they are often more comfortable testing those waters for DR—especially since the cloud alters the economics of DR so radically. Some organizations implement DR only for their most critical applications to minimize risk and keep expenses in check. Using the cloud enables companies to extend DR services to additional workloads, further reducing their exposure to business interruption. Others that currently operate failover sites are finding the costs skyrocketing because of continual data growth. But for many (particularly smaller) organizations, the cloud actually makes DR possible for the first time.

A traditional approach to DR involves different levels of off-site duplication of data and infrastructure. Critical business services are set up and maintained on this infrastructure and tested at regular intervals.  

Infrastructure required to support the duplicate environment should include 

  • Facilities to house the infrastructure which including power and cooling. 
  • Physical protection of assets. 
  • Repairing, replacing, and refreshing the infrastructure support. 
  • Contractual agreements with an Internet service provider (ISP) for Internet connectivity which can sustain bandwidth utilization for the environment under a full load. 
  • Network infrastructure components such as firewalls, routers, switches, and load balancers. 
  • Capacity planning to run all mission-critical services, including storage appliances for the supporting data, and servers to run applications and backend services such as user authentication, Domain Name System (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), monitoring, and alerting. 

AWS supports Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) which is a collection of modular cloud service components, that is well known for scalability, reliability, and security. These modular services can be used independently or combined to meet specific computing and storage requirements.  AWS services make an option to seed the cloud repository is to import large amounts of data into AWS using portable storage devices transported via third-party logistics. Data can be exported in a similar fashion too. Ongoing data movement thereafter occurs using network links. 
A customer can find that cost reduction is achieved in a number of ways. There are no fees for inbound data transfer, which eliminates costs associated with moving data to a secondary and/or tertiary site. Also, AWS’ pay-as-you-go pricing reduces monthly costs since only resources actually used are paid for. 

Businesses are using the AWS cloud to enable faster disaster recovery of their critical IT systems without incurring the infrastructure expense of a second physical site. The AWS cloud supports many popular disaster recovery (DR) architectures from “pilot light” environments that may be suitable for small customer workload data center failures to “hot standby” environments that enable rapid failover at scale. With data centers in Regions all around the world, AWS provides a set of cloud-based disaster recovery services that enable rapid recovery of your IT infrastructure and data.

Refer to the attached PDF for in-depth information on AWS services essential for Disaster Recovery(DR), benefits of using AWS cloud for DR, Security and Compliance, Software Licensing and DR etc.

Authored By - Rajib Das
TCS Cyber Security Practice

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