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Is your cloud DR strategy agile enough?

As business requirements evolve, not every DR tool can keep up. In the age of agile IT, there are drawbacks to consider with a cloud-based disaster recovery strategy.

There are a few things that come to mind with regard to the most overlooked aspect of a cloud DR strategy, but I think that the No. 1 thing that tends to be passed over is flexibility.

As business needs change and new opportunities are discovered, IT should be able to immediately adapt to accommodate changing business conditions. In most cases, this means being able to run and support new workloads on demand.

The problem is that, even if public clouds are marketed as being easily adaptable, cloud-based disaster recovery (DR) is anything but. Anyone who has ever had a cloud DR strategy knows that adjusting a strategy for environmental changes requires meticulous planning and testing.

The big takeaway is that IT pros need to have contingency plans in place for adapting a cloud DR strategy to ever-changing business conditions. Suppose, for example, that a particular organization has virtualized all of its workloads and that those workloads are running on VMware vSphere. As might be expected, this organization has chosen to use AWS as a DR platform because VMware's strategic partnership with AWS ensures good interoperability between the two platforms.

So, with that in mind, imagine that the organization acquires another company that hosts all of its workloads on Hyper-V. While there are ways of using AWS to protect Hyper-V workloads, Hyper-V isn't going to fit neatly into the company's existing DR plans.

Even though this is a made-up example, it illustrates how changing business requirements can affect a company's cloud DR strategy.

It is probably safe to say that most system administrators are in the habit of being proactive and looking for ways to address cloud issues before those issues can turn into problems. When it comes to situations like the one described above, it is likely going to be impossible for IT pros to anticipate all of the changes that could affect their DR initiatives. Since IT pros won't always receive advance notice of such changes, the best thing they can do is to educate themselves about the available cloud DR options, as well as what the features and limitations are of each option, and how other organizations are addressing their own cloud DR challenges. By keeping their cloud DR education current, IT pros will be in a good position for quickly dealing with the organization's changing needs.

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