Private cloud computing – some impeccable benefits

Advances in virtualization and distributed computing have allowed corporate network and data centre administrators to effectively become service providers that meet the needs of their "customers" within the corporation. Marketing media that uses the words "private cloud" is designed to appeal to an organization that needs or wants more control over their data than they can get by using a third-party hosted service such as Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud or Simple Storage Service. Private cloud computing, offers a number of significant advantages, which includes lower costs, faster server deployments and higher levels of resiliency. What is often over looked is how the Private Cloud can dramatically changes the game for IT disaster recovery in terms of significantly lower costs, faster recovery times, and enhanced testability.

Before we talk about the private cloud, let's explore the challenges of IT disaster recovery for traditional server systems. Most legacy IT systems are comprised of a heterogeneous set of hardware platforms - added to the system over time - with different processors, memory, drives, BIOS, and I/O systems. In a production environment, these heterogeneous systems work as designed, and the applications are loaded onto the servers and maintained and patched over time. Offsite backups of these heterogeneous systems can be performed and safely stored at an offsite location. There are really 2 options for backing up and restoring the systems:

1) Back up the data only

This is where the files are backed up from the local server’s hard drive to the offsite location either through tapes, online or between data centres over a dedicated fibre connection. The goal is to assure that all of the data is captured and recoverable. To recover the server in the case of a disaster, the operating system needs to be reloaded and patched to the same level as the cloud server, the applications need to be reloaded, re-patched, and configured, and then the backed up data can be restored to the server.

2) Bare Metal Restore -

This is considered to be a much faster way to recover the entire system. BMR creates an entire snapshot of the operating system, applications, system registry and data files, and restores the entire system on similar hardware exactly as it was configured in the production system. The gotcha is the "similar hardware" requirement. This often requires the same CPU version, BIOS, and I/O configuration to assure the recovery will be operational. In a heterogeneous server environment, duplicate servers need to be on-hand to execute a bare metal restoration for disaster recovery.