Is public cloud outed for disaster recovery?

Aug 29, 2017

Disaster happens everyday and data is moving to the cloud, but should it? Bridgeworks CEO, David Trossell, speaks to ITProPortal about the risk.

 


Given that the AWS outage was caused by human error, the first question I’d ask is whether blaming the public cloud for the outage is fair.

ComputerWeekly’s Cliff Saran writes that ‘AWS Outage Shows Vulnerability of Cloud Disaster Recovery’ in his article of 6th March 2017. He cites the S3 outage suffered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) on 28th February 2017 as an example of the risks you pose by running critical systems in the public cloud. “The consensus is that the public cloud is superior to on-premise datacentres, but AWS’s outage, caused by human error, shows that even the most sophisticated cloud IT infrastructure is not infallible”, he says.

Given that the AWS outage was caused by human error, the first question I’d ask is whether blaming the public cloud for the outage is fair. The second question that I’d like to pose is: Could this incident have been prevented by using a data acceleration solution to deploy machine intelligence to reduce the potential calamities that can be caused by human error? In the case of the AWS S3 outage a simple typographical error reaped havoc to the extent that the company couldn’t – according to The Register – “get into its own dashboard to warn the world.”

 

“Artificial intelligence (AI) is no match for human stupidity. Why do people think that just because it is “in the cloud,” they can devolve all responsibility to protect their data and their business continuity to someone else?”

– David Trossell, CEO Bridgeworks, LTD

 

Some experts believe that British Airways (BA) could have avoided its recent computer failure, which is expected to have cost £150m, if it had the right disaster recovery strategies in place. The worldwide outage on 27th May 2017 left its passengers stranded at airports, and it has no doubt damaged the airline’s brand image with newspaper reports predicting the demise of the company.

A blogger for The Economist wrote on 29th May 2017: “The whole experience was alarming. The BA staff clearly were as poorly informed as the passengers; no one in management had taken control. No one was prioritising those passengers who had waited longest. No one was checking that planes were on their way before changing flight times. BA has a dominant position, in terms of take-off slots, at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest hub. On the basis of this weekend’s performance, it does not deserve it.”

Yet in the case of the S3 AWS outage, blame needs to lie with human error and not with the public cloud. Trossell therefore concludes that you should consider data acceleration solutions such as PORTrockIT – the DCS Award’s ‘Data Centre ICT Networking Product of the Year’ to remove the human risk associated with, for example, the manual configuration of WANs. They can also help your organisation to maintain uptime by enabling real-time back up at speed by mitigating the effects of latency and by reducing packet loss. They can permit you to send encrypted data across a WAN too, and your data centres needn’t be located next to each other within the same circles of disruption because they can be many miles apart from each other.

So, with them in mind, the public cloud certainly isn’t outed for disaster recovery. It can still play an invaluable disaster recovery role. With data acceleration supported by machine learning you will be able to securely back up and restore your data with improved RPOs and RTOs to any cloud. You also won’t have to suffer downtime caused by a simple typographical error. The network will be configured for you by machine learning to mitigate data latency, network latency and packet loss.

 

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