Regional Disaster Recovery Is Vital to Your Business Continuity Plan
CIOs, IT directors and system administrators know that disasters can happen and operations can be disrupted. Whether from a fire, flood or cybersecurity breach, sooner or later a mishap will interrupt the business.
Enterprises need a disaster recovery (DR) strategy to help minimize the impact of disruption and get the business back up and running. That strategy should include a backup site to which operations can temporarily switch over.
Depending on requirements, the site might be on the same property as the production environment, in the same metro area or in the same region — distant enough that a disaster won’t affect both the production and the replication environment, but not so far away that latency is an issue.
Operations that support real-time transactions, such as credit card processing, require a “hot” site with synchronous replication. This is known as metro DR, in which transactions occur in the production and replication environments simultaneously, linked by a high-bandwidth — and often high-cost — connection. Operations that aren’t mission-critical and don’t need to be restored as quickly can use a “cold” site, where IT staff manually rebuild the server, re-install applications, restore backed-up data and return to normal production.
Typically, the majority of operations in an enterprise will need something in between. That means a “warm” site with asynchronous replication. This is regional DR, and it lies at the heart of any business continuity plan.
In the past, IT teams needed to cobble together technologies and follow manual workflows to achieve regional DR. But with today’s containerized infrastructures, Kubernetes-based offerings provide a turnkey DR solution and can automate many recovery processes.
Getting Regional Disaster Recovery Right
Regional DR begins with a business continuity plan, which establishes the right level of DR for your business needs and specifies roles and processes for recovering from a disaster. Two key DR metrics are recovery point objective (RPO) — the maximum period of data you can afford to lose — and recovery time objective (RTO) — the maximum period of time until you need to be back up and running.
For regional DR, both RPO and RTO should be minutes or less. That means you need the technologies to switch from your active, production container clusters to your passive, replicated clusters. With the right solution, you can quickly achieve cross-cluster replication of environments, applications, workloads and associated data. And you can realize this level of DR by using a higher-latency wide-area network (WAN) such as an internet connection.
Containerization and Kubernetes container orchestration can provide you with the means to quickly, reliably and cost-effectively recover from a disaster.
It’s important to use a Kubernetes container-orchestration platform that’s designed for regional DR. That’s because DR is about more than simply restarting applications or reloading backed-up data. You also need to replicate the configuration files and other data associated with applications — that is, the namespaces — that provide all the context for applications to function properly within the container.
With the right functionality, the applications in your replication environment are precisely in sync with those in your production environment. Workloads switch over in a highly automated fashion, so you optimize both RPO and RTO. In short, you can recover your business operations with minimal data loss and downtime — and financial impact.
Getting Back to Business — Wherever It Occurs
Using a Kubernetes-based solution for cross-cluster replication can also help your IT team return operations to your primary site after you’ve remediated the disaster. The system administrator manually triggers the process, but once it’s in motion, applications and their configurations and namespaces are automatically replicated back to your production environment.
The solution should support your regional DR needs wherever your business requires it. For example, many enterprises are conducting more transactions at the edge. Kubernetes-based DR should be able to run on a single node with a very small footprint.
Regardless of where your transactions take place — at a central location or on the edge — you need support for software-defined data storage. After all, your workloads involve not just applications but also all the associated data. So your Kubernetes solution should provide cluster data management for containerized workloads. APIs should also enable smooth integration with existing data backup products. That way, you have a solid data foundation for the object and namespace replication that makes regional DR possible.
No matter how robust your IT infrastructure or how strong your cybersecurity is, at some point your business will face a DR scenario. The good news is that containerization and Kubernetes container orchestration can provide you with the means to quickly, reliably and cost-effectively recover from a disaster. With an effective solution, you can minimize data loss, accelerate recovery and keep your business functioning.