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Cloud Disaster Recovery: Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

As public cloud infrastructures mature and storage costs decrease, more and more enterprises are looking to the cloud to implement their disaster recovery (DR) plans. Virtually every recent survey of IT trends shows that secondary backup in general and DR in particular are highly compelling cloud use cases, and are often the first forays of an organization into the cloud.

In this blog post we discuss cloud disaster recovery benefits and challenges and describe how companies are successfully using Cloud Volumes ONTAP to accelerate their DR strategies with enhanced storage efficiency and hybrid management.

Why Disaster Recovery Is Important

What Is Disaster Recovery?


Disaster recovery in cloud computing comprises the IT policies, tools, and procedures that ensure critical business infrastructure and systems will function despite disruptive events such as natural disasters, cyber attacks, or even planned upgrades/maintenance that require shutting down production infrastructures. DR supports business continuity objectives by quickly restoring infrastructure, applications, and data. The key to any DR strategy is data replication.

The Need to Minimize Downtime


In today’s always-connected, always-on global economy, users expect apps and services to be available 24/7/365. At an average cost of ~$8,850 per minute, an average of 95 minutes of downtime per outage, and 31% of organizations having experienced at IT downtime incident over the previous 12 months, the direct costs of downtime are clearly significant. Indirect costs in the form of lost customers, business opportunities and productivity, as well as damage to reputation, can be just as or even more damaging. No matter what the cause, when disaster strikes, rapid recovery is essential.

DR Solution Challenges


Disaster recovery, in cloud deployments or on-prem, is a business-critical issue. In many verticals, it is also important to maintain redundant data sets in order to comply with long-term data retention regulations. However, the costs of setting up, testing and maintaining a DR site in a failover data center are very high—especially in light of the fact that the organization hopes never to have to use that replicated site. Other DR challenges include:
  • Finding and maintaining the minimal DR data footprint that will provide adequate protection but minimizes data replication costs.
  • Continuously synchronizing the data between the production data center and the DR replicated site.
  • Establishing failover and failback processes that are as seamless and as automated as possible.
  • Allocating the human and IT resources to test the DR environment at regular intervals to make sure that it will work if and when needed.

In order to meet these challenges, enterprises of all sizes often seek to implement their DR strategies by leveraging on-demand public cloud compute, network, and storage resources. In this way they can reduce their datacenter footprints and costs, shift CAPEX to OPEX, enhance data safety, and benefit from limitless scalability.

How Cloud Volumes ONTAP Accelerates AWS Disaster Recovery and Azure Disaster Recovery


The cloud service providers offer frameworks specifically designed to help users build out cost-effective and secure cloud DR environments. However, they often don’t fully meet all the challenges that come with DR. They can also be difficult to manage across the multicloud and hybrid cloud infrastructures that are required by enterprises today.

In this section we bring three examples of large enterprises from a variety of verticals that use Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a data storage management layer on top of the AWS and Azure cloud infrastructures for optimal disaster recovery in cloud and hybrid cloud deployments.

Engageya: Cost-Effective and Secure Scalability


Engageya allows top media houses, premium publishers and global brands to reach and retain millions of users in emerging markets through its unique native content discovery and advertising platform. In the face of rapid growth, Engageya was struggling to scale its private cloud, open-source storage infrastructure without interrupting operations and without breaking the budget.

Engageya worked with NetApp to implement a hybrid, multicloud solution in which data was replicated seamlessly from high-speed on-prem NetApp appliances to both the AWS and the Azure clouds. This architecture has allowed Engageya to benefit from:

Reach PLC (formerly Trinity Mirror)


The largest news publisher in the UK, Reach publishes 150+ print and 80+ online newspapers, including the iconic Daily Mirror. The company early on embraced a hybrid cloud strategy in order to manage its rapid business growth as well as its expanding picture and video data repository.

The company began its digital transformation in 2011 and, over five years, it migrated most of its production workloads to AWS. When the lease expired on Reach’s DR facility, the company’s technical operations team seized the opportunity to escape the on-prem infrastructure refresh cycle. Partnering with NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, they shifted their DR replication target to the AWS cloud, establishing a reliable DR platform for its business-critical applications. The benefits they have achieved include:
  • A 50% reduction in its data storage footprint using Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s built-in storage efficiencies.
  • Consistently upholding—and exceeding—stringent 60-minute RTO and RPO targets.
  • Regular, non-disruptive testing of its DR site with FlexClone, meeting regulatory requirements and shareholder expectations.
  • The ability to run in “pilot light” mode using minimal AWS resources yet still being able to automatically failover any or all of its applications, databases, and data volumes as necessary.

Concerto Cloud Services


As a provider of fully-managed cloud solutions, Concerto Cloud Services specializes in helping companies deploy applications across a flexible, hybrid, and secure cloud platform. In order to enhance what it could provide customers, Concerto chose to leverage Cloud Volumes ONTAP for AWS as a solution for DR and data retention. Using SnapMirror, two days was all the time Concerto needed to set up a cloud copy of all the data replicated from its on-prem sites. Once that baseline copy was in place, just data deltas needed to be transferred on a regular basis to keep both copies in sync and up to date.

Here are some of the benefits Concerto Cloud Services gained by using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for DR:
  • An optimized cost/performance ratio for data storage by being able to deploy across public and private clouds using different performance tiers. Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s automated storage tiering on AWS and on Azure dramatically reduces DR storage footprints and costs.
  • An industry-leading four-hour RTO SLA across any architecture—public, private, or hybrid.
  • A 50% reduction of costly data center storage.
  • With the Cloud Volumes ONTAP storage efficiencies, Concerto was able to protect 5.4 PB of production data by using only 203 TB of data backup footprint on AWS. That’s a data reduction of 27.5:1, or 96%.

Summary: Do More Than Cloud Native DR


With disaster recovery a business imperative, enterprises are focused on optimizing their DR strategies in order to provide bullet-proof protection at minimal costs. The cloud has come to play an important role in DR, offering services that leverage global data centers and flexible storage tiering for cost-effective yet robust DR replication targets. Enterprises across a wide range of sectors have come to rely on NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP to enhance cloud native DR services with cost-effective incremental data replication, built-in storage efficiencies, flexible volume cloning for DR testing, and single-pane control.

For more on DR, check out this post on how DR costs can be lowered in the cloud with Cloud Volumes ONTAP as part of your DR strategy. You can also try it out first hand with 30-day free trial on AWS or Azure.
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