Cloud-based disaster recovery emerging as top IT priority

Jeroen Schlosser, managing director at Equinix MENA discusses why CIOs must have a disaster recovery plan in place

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Cloud-based disaster recovery emerging as top IT priority Jeroen Schlosser, managing director, Equinix MENA
By  Jeroen Schlosser Published  August 11, 2016

Putting a disaster recovery plan in place has traditionally been challenging for CIOs. The difficulty identifying and weighing present and future risks against the often high costs of a plan have put this topic (too) low on the ICT agenda of many enterprises.

However, this need not be the case. Cloud offers a win-win solution for both CIOs and CFOs, even amid worries about CAPEX expenditures and the global economy's uncertainties, but it involves looking at things differently.

The region where I work, Middle East North Africa (MENA), is an example of a place where a new approach to disaster recovery (DR) is not just needed, but is more accessible than ever. Traditionally, disaster recovery in MENA has been owned and managed in-house, with the full or partial replication of the production environment as the default solution. This is often more costly, and it also typically keeps the primary and backup physical infrastructure at the same location. Companies are looking for a new approach, but current economic and regulatory conditions present obstacles.

On the legislative front, we see the MENA countries taking steps to ensure that data is stored in-country and enforcing specific rulings around the locations of the DR service. In some instances, those can be in-country, but for some sectors (i.e. banking), they must be out of country.

Meanwhile, falling oil prices have impacted every local economy. Companies across all sectors are being more cautious in hiring and spending on CAPEX projects.

These cost and compliance pressures come at a time of digital transformation, when reliable disaster policies aren't optional, in MENA or anywhere else. Not having the critical information available to internal teams, external stakeholders and customers can be extremely expensive. Industry experts estimate that outages can cost $5,000 per minute, furthermore a 2014 global survey in by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness (DRP) Council report, reported that losses from outages ranged from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, with nearly 20% indicating losses of more than $50,000, including some as high as $5m.

These are significant challenges, but the good news is that solutions to these compliance and cost issues can be found in the cloud. That's particularly relevant right now in MENA, where Cisco predicts a 41% compound annual growth rate in cloud traffic between 2014 and 2019, the highest of any global region. Increasing cloud adoption in MENA and globally means more businesses have an opportunity to reconsider their existing DR strategy and opt for a more scalable, outsourced solution known as DRaaS (Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service).

DRaaS is a new offering being introduced in the enterprise world. Put simply, it is about using a service provider at a central location to replicate your critical data and/or application into their environment. This allows small- and medium-sized businesses to access capabilities that might not be available in-house, and it enables larger enterprises to build a solution that can scale up or down with the needs of the business. It is a big advantage in a CAPEX-restricted market.

In MENA, our Dubai data centre is the regional network hub and offers significant opportunities for both enterprises and DRaaS providers. It hosts more than 38 network service providers and 30-plus cloud service providers. Since the majority of MENA enterprises have Internet access, they can easily connect with the DRaaS providers in the data center to start outsourcing their DR requirement in a way that's fully compliant with regional regulations.

The cloud- and network-density in MENA mirrors the situation with Equinix worldwide, where we host 1,100+ networks and 500+ cloud providers on our global interconnection platform. Regardless of where you are in the world, whether you have an existing DR environment running in-house, or if it is on your to-do-list, this might be the time to (re)consider your DR strategy.

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