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Today, disaster recovery is already rapidly becoming an ideal way for companies to use cloud services to address the challenges of disaster recovery.
Disaster recovery remains a continuing challenge for storage professionals. Unlike many other IT areas, in recent years, the environment for disaster recovery is becoming more and more complex and difficult to solve.
First, the definition of disaster has been extended to almost any field of service interruption. Second, there are more reasons for the disaster. We all hear natural disasters (such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes), but should also be man-made disasters, such as cyber attacks, extortion software, unexpected user error or damage to enterprises. Third, the amount of data we need to consider in the event of a disaster is growing exponentially. Fourth, the user’s expectations of rapid recovery greatly enhanced. Today, users expect their critical applications to be virtually uninterrupted.
At the same time, as the background of these challenges, most of the organization’s disaster recovery budget growth is still stagnant. As a result, many companies, both small and medium enterprises or large enterprises have been seeking their cloud disaster recovery plan to eliminate these problems, while reducing the overall cost of disaster recovery.
Backup, archive and disaster recovery in the cloud
Understanding the cloud is a service delivery model (see below what is cloud) helps to determine which data protection processes and cases are good and which are not so good. Most data protection processes have three basic components: backup, archiving, and recovery.
A backup is a copy of the data, the purpose is to respond to the event of a failure or data loss, so that the data can be used to restore a version. Most organizations will retain limited data backup time period (typically is three to seven years), so the use of cloud backup means at least a period of time to the daily rental storage backup capacity. Depending on the amount of data you need to store, this move may or may not be as cost-effective as your own store.
Archiving is the long-term retention of data. This should be the place where the final copy of the data is stored – ideally, it is limited to two copies of each data in two separate locations, preferably in a file of two different formats. The more powerful the archiving strategy is, the smaller the range of backup data protection and the longer the time required to recover the data. Most organizations need to save at least seven years of archived data, and sometimes may be longer. For most organizations, renting storage space for decades is not cost effective, so cloud services may not be the appropriate destination for archiving data.
Recovery, especially disaster recovery, almost always requires the latest copy of the data. If possible, any recovery outside the recent time frame should come from an archive. Cloud service is an ideal location for disaster recovery, because only the latest copy of the data must be stored in the cloud service there, most (if not all) suppliers allows you to businesses to use its computing resources in the event of a disaster. This saves the cost of maintaining your own servers and storage hardware at remote disaster recovery sites without increasing the cost of backup disk capacity. Therefore, cloud based disaster recovery or disaster recovery service (DRaaS) has become an ideal way to solve the problem of disaster recovery.
What is cloud service?
First, let’s make it clear that cloud services are not a panacea for all IT problems. This is a private enterprise data center must be the same as the private data center physical law as a serious battle. The advantage is that the cloud service provider is an integrated enterprise organization, the organization focused on providing IT services, while most cloud service providers have the top data center design.
They also have the advantages of economies of scale, which means that the purchase of a large number of IT products can definitely bring significant cost advantages for cloud service providers. The combination of these economies of scale and a large amount of investment in processes and automation will often make your business operating costs much lower per unit.
Keep in mind that cloud services are primarily a IT delivery model. Enterprise customers do not need to buy IT products and services in advance, but regularly hire these IT products and services. The leasing nature of IT services means that cloud services are very attractive for temporary use, and are less attractive for more permanent use cases.
Now, let’s take a look at what steps you should take and what you should consider when developing the most effective cloud disaster recovery plan for your organization.
Step 1: move data to the cloud
The first step in building a cloud disaster recovery plan is to deliver data to your enterprise cloud service provider, of course, remember that by controlling the number of data to optimize the specific storage cost is best stored only the latest copy. Moreover, given the large number of cloud data protection options, can be divided into two categories: backup data products and copy data products. The difference between them is the way data is stored.
Most cloud backup products store data in a proprietary backup format. In the event of a disaster, the data must be extracted and transferred from the virtual machine to the enterprise customer. Most cloud backup products take advantage of all the devices deployed in the enterprise to capture all the backup, and then copy the data to the cloud. Almost all copies of the data are copied to the cloud, but by contrast, the data stored in the original file system format, can be accessed at the primary site failure. Enterprise customers can even choose to store these data in high-performance cloud storage, so that the return operation faster.
In view of the challenges of initial data in backup or replication. The creation of a backup or copy of the software needed to compare the data to the cloud benchmark may take hours, days or even weeks. In order to speed up the process, some cloud service providers to corporate customers to provide a durable high capacity NAS. Copy the underlying data set to NAS, and then send NAS back. Ideally, more cloud service providers will use tape, which is easier to transport and more cost effective. Once the data is stored in the cloud, daily updated data is usually very easy to copy, such as block of data compression, data deduplication and change of such technology can significantly reduce the amount of data transfer through the network must.
The third way to move data into the cloud is to run production data in the cloud. This involves the use of caching within an enterprise so that local applications do not encounter delays or transfer the entire workload to the cloud itself. Although the main storage and two storage in the cloud may be more than the operating costs of the cost itself, but the enterprise customers must move all the data to the cloud in order to be more effective. Moreover, although this approach can also avoid the continuous transfer of data to the cloud, but your business must ensure that cloud service providers can provide an acceptable flexibility for their stored data.
Step 2: perform disaster recovery in the cloud
Every IT professional has at least one disaster in his career. In fact, since the definition of disaster has been extended from data center data to an important application becomes unavailable, today’s disaster situation is more likely to occur. If the disaster is isolated, then this means that it will only affect a single work load, so frankly, the use of cloud computing, and transmits the data to the cloud service provider to recovery is not necessary. Under normal circumstances, a business organization is more suitable for recovery within the enterprise. Some cloud backup products can use the device of the enterprise local data center to manage the data of the fault application, and in some cases become the computer needed to drive the virtual version of the application.
Replication based DRaaS products should be set to have local storage targets except for the cloud. In this way, enterprise customers can also choose to restore in the local or cloud.
For a wide range of disasters, such as the data center is not available, the need for a real cloud failover. Here, the first step after a disaster is to start all the services required for high priority application operations, such as DNS and directory services, and all the servers that make up the application. Finally, the network configuration is adjusted so that the logged in user can seamlessly access the current cloud hosting application.
It is clear that the test of the disaster recovery process is essential to ensure that all of these steps are effective, especially when the network changes. It is also important to include the end user requirements. They may not be in the central office, may also be in a coffee shop or home through a virtual private network connection login.
This process is similar to all the data stored in the cloud, but will still be calculated to keep the enterprise within the enterprise. The new network routing problem is the same, but because the data is already in the cloud, so you only need to start the application with the development of data to start and run.
Step 3: Return
At some point, your business needs to leave the cloud service and return to normal deployment operations. The cloud port is one of the more difficult aspects of the use of the cloud disaster recovery plan, and all of the technologies that IT uses to push the data to the cloud for daily transmission will not work here, since there is no basis for comparison.
In most cases, you can restore data from the cloud, albeit slowly, while the provider continues to host your application. After the data has been transmitted, a fast data synchronization is performed, and then the operation is switched back to the main data center of the enterprise. Depending on the amount of data you need to transmit and the available bandwidth, this transfer may take days or even weeks, and your organization needs to pay for the additional costs of using computers in the cloud.
The DRaaS provider should be able to provide the functionality of the new data center that delivers the data directly to the enterprise customer. As mentioned earlier, this can be achieved by NAS or tape. This will allow the creation of a reference copy in the case where the affected application is still running in the provider’s cloud.
This example also shows another big advantage of data migration to the cloud. Since you do not need to migrate data, you can use the local cache data to start the application in the new data center, so that the system can begin to access the data in the cloud. Only active data must be replicated within the enterprise environment.
In terms of storage, cloud services are the most valuable and cost-effective for disaster recovery. This is because the disaster recovery storage capacity is lower than that of other data protection products, and rarely read, and the cloud provides access to a computer, in the event of a disaster can quickly restart mission critical applications using the data. The cloud disaster recovery plan also eliminates the cost of disaster recovery strategies for enterprise organizations, because you only need to pay for the calculation of the disaster recovery plan or when the actual disaster occurs.
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