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When Fire Comes to the Cloud

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OVHcloud, Europe’s largest cloud services provider, suffered a devastating fire on March 10 at its facility in Strasbourg, in Eastern France. The fire destroyed one of four data centers at the site. As Reuters reported, the fire disrupted millions of websites, taking government agency portals offline, along with banks, news sites, shops, and many other sites using the .fr web space. The company advised its clients, such as the French government and Deribit cryptocurrency exchange, to activate Disaster Recovery (DR) plans.

Yes, even the cloud can catch on fire. When it does, you want to be confident that your digital assets will be safe - and that your business can continue to operate. Business continuity and DR plans and solutions exist exactly for moments like this. If such an incident does affect your digital business, it is definitely not the time to find out that your DR plan was deficient.

IT Central Station members discuss these challenges in their reviews of backup and recovery and disaster recovery solutions. For example, Pieter S., Information Technology Manager at PAV Telecoms, explained that Acronis Backup “has saved us from certain financial ruin after important servers containing financial data were stolen during a robbery.” He added that “we were able to restore backups to new hardware and carry on with business as usual.”

A System Administrator at Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets put it this way: “We use Veritas for incremental backups for all the servers. It is an automated process. Disaster can happen to any server and the disk image can be destroyed very easily. It's also easy to fully email the backup image and restore the server.”

Albert S., Co-Owner at Angels Dtp, similarly noted that “in difficult situations, where something was accidentally erased or there was another kind of error, I can return to the latest backup and recover. The most valuable feature is the fact that [Acronis] backs up my systems transparently in the background, and I'm not even conscious of it. I just get a notice that it's successfully backed up.”

Other backup managers rely on their solutions to maintain a state of preparedness. Muzammil M., Sr. IT Operations Engineer at AlGosaibi Group, for instance, uses Azure Backup as part of his company's disaster recovery solution. He said, “If there is a problem in the entire building then we can restore our data from over the cloud. Azure Backup is very good for our clients who need to back up data securely and reliably.”

The time it takes to restore data is critical, according to Syed Q., Technical Services Manager at a small tech services company. “With Veritas, the SLAs [Service Level Agreements] are pretty predictable and you can achieve complete backups easily.” For Syed, what matters is duplication and compression and the safe sorting of information, along with a quick recovery time. It seems as if he’s learned this the hard way, as he remarked that “sometimes with other software, a complete backup doesn't happen.”

Reviews of backup solutions on IT Central Station also offer suggested best practices for DR and business continuity. A Technical Presales Consultant/ Engineer at a large wholesaler recommended that “a person put on a Veeam backup service so that in a disaster recovery scenario you set what has to come back up first, because that is going to be the critical information that has to go back up as quickly as possible. You can put anything on critical servers, but we recommend that you use it for critical data that is going to be restored within a four-hour timeframe.”

A Group Product Specialist at a distributor with more than 200 employees revealed that Veeam Backup Replication has “automated backup to the point of almost no involvement needed and our backups can be checked, tested, and verified at any time in accordance with our policies.”

An IT Network Analyst at a manufacturing company made a comment that sums up the essence of DR effectiveness, saying “[Veritas] saves us a lot of time. We're backing up all of our servers with it. The backup potential of the solution is very good. It's protected us in the past very well and allowed us to get up and running after an attack with minimal loss.”

We can all hope that no fire will come to our clouds. But, if it does, we’d best be ready. Events like the OVHcloud disaster are rare, but they do occur. DR plans and business continuity solutions have to be set up and tested so business can go on, without the loss of valuable data.

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2 Comments
author avatarRory Shelton
User

Be prepared, an organization's existence could be the cost. 

author avatarJC Alexandres
User

The never old IT adage ... backup, backup, backup.

ITCS user
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