Cloud News & Insights

How to Minimize the Impact of Cloud Outages

Frustrated woman in front of a laptop

There will be occasions when cloud outages occur for short periods of time. After all, even the best run in-house computer center has its occasional glitches. And while cloud outages are far more rare than the problems encountered by in-house centers, the fact is that cloud outages tend to get a lot more publicity.

If you are running a company that stands to lose much revenue, goodwill and reputation due to a cloud outage, you must take adequate care to ensure that the adverse effects are minimal. Fortunately, the cloud gives you both hot and cold options when it comes to service continuity.

Ultimately, you are responsible for providing the planned level of service to your clients and users. And unless you have explicitly covered a cloud failure situation in your contracts with your users, you will also be responsible for any service failure. Given that responsibility, it’s important to make the right preparations.

The option you choose will depend on the extent to which your operations are dependent on the web. There are a few options currently being used:

Cold Disaster Recovery – Multiple Regions: A very common strategy is to keep multiple copies of your applications and data in several cloud centers in various parts of the world. This ensures that a single hurricane (for example) will not knock out your data. If and when your main site is affected, you fire up the alternate sites. The cost of such a solution is quite low, but there is a tangible latency and your new sites will take an hour or so to come up. Since you have no servers running, you will need to create instances. This takes time, even if you have accurate server templates of your existing web and database servers. There is also an associated problem of keeping your DR database updated.

Warm Disaster Recovery – Multiple regions: In this approach, you run a parallel deployment in a different region(s). Most components are running and available. In the event of a failure, your slave database is promoted to master status and DNS is reconfigured to direct traffic to the alternate site. Costs depend on how many of the components of your application you choose to keep fired up. In typical scenarios, you can be up and running within the hour.

Hot Disaster Recovery: In this strategy, you have a complete parallel deployment in a different region. While your primary servers would get all traffic, you can ensure that the health of the standby site is continuously monitored and kept online. There is a need to maintain two copies of your database so that every event in your primary location is mirrored in your DR location as well. If you follow this strategy, your operations can be back to normal within five minutes.

Most users opt to use the warm DR approach. While this is more expensive than the cold DR approach, it offers good value for money and a reasonably short recovery time. Another option in the absence of available labor resources, is subscribing to the services of a cloud provider that offers disaster prevention measures. GMO Cloud offers a highly secure  cloud hosting that makes sure that all aspects of the hosting are taken care of – this is what they refer to as a multi-level security strategy. Read more about this approach at the Security page.

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About the Guest Author:

Sanjay SrivastavaSanjay Srivastava has been active in computing infrastructure and has participated in major projects on cloud computing, networking, VoIP and in creation of applications running over distributed databases. Due to a military background, his focus has always been on stability and availability of infrastructure. Sanjay was the Director of Information Technology in a major enterprise and managed the transition from legacy software to fully networked operations using private cloud infrastructure.

He now writes extensively on cloud computing and networking and is about to move to his farm in Central India where he plans to use cloud computing and modern technology to improve the lives of rural folk in India.

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