Posts Tagged: Disaster Recovery

Data Protection in the Cloud

August 9, 2016
By Alexander Negrash

cloudberry logo new

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how they leverage our platform to enable customer success. This week’s guest author from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Alexander Negrash, Director of Marketing , at CloudBerry Lab.

The evolution of cloud technology saw cloud storage as a great tool to offload on-premise storage economics into the cloud. Thanks to ever-increasing Internet bandwidth and declining storage prices, keeping backups in the cloud has become a viable alternative to traditional on-site data storage for small and medium sized businesses.

However, many companies often overlook key considerations when it comes to online backup:

Reliable Storage

When moving backup data off-site, a company should ensure the cloud storage service is reliable and cost-effective, yet high-performing.

Data Security

Security is a top concern when business data is taken to the cloud. A company's private data could be compromised if the solution lacks the right features.

Restore Capabilities

Backup data stored at a remote facility should always be set at a recoverable state, be accessible at any time, and allow point-in-time object-level restore.

Companies migrate to cloud platforms like CenturyLink Cloud, leaving behind their own IT-infrastructures with costly hardware and labor-intensive maintenance....

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Six Factors to Consider When Planning Your Business Continuity Strategy

August 1, 2016
By Brandy Smith

Business Continuity

Can you quantify what happens if your business goes down? Do you lose productivity, customers, or both? And, is your business going to lose its reputation?

A solid business continuity strategy seeks to mitigate the impact on a business when critical functions are interrupted. Business continuity is challenging for any organization to identify and address. There are so many factors that can disrupt operations. This can include anything that threatens a facility, whether it’s a natural disaster, a physical security breach, or a chain of custody breach.

Organizations that don’t have a business continuity strategy in place are at enormous risk. The strategy an organization chooses affects the potential downtime, which can in turn impact not just their bottom line, but perhaps whether or not they remain in business. Consider the following:

7 out of 10 companies that lose a significant amount of data are bankrupt within 12 months.

Six Factors to Consider When Planning Your Business Continuity Strategy

Evaluating What SLAs Really Mean

Many organizations assume that if they have 99.999% uptime—they’re covered. But in reality, true uptime is a little more complicated. Businesses depend on their IT systems. So reliability and system availability are significant issues whether they’re an unofficial standard, a corporate service-level agreement (SLA)...

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Data at Risk – What to do?

April 14, 2016
By Justin Withington

DR_start

Why Data Protection Services are Important

Data backup and restoration is critical on both a personal and business continuity level. From personal photos to customer financial information, data is always at risk of being lost. These risk factors range from user error to natural disaster; it’s not a matter of “if”, but "when." The associated downtime of these sudden events can cripple businesses. Those who are prepared can resume operations swiftly and not only minimize financial impact, but seize the opportunity to gain new business from competitors whose operations may be nonfunctional. The consequences of data loss can be so great that many businesses are forced on a regulatory level to maintain consistent copies of data.

What Solution is Right for You?

So you have important data that you don’t want to lose -- what next? With the myriad of choices, it may be difficult to determine what product provides the best fit for your needs. The first step in the selection process is to ask yourself “What am I trying to protect and why?”. Are you trying to ensure your precious memories are not erased forever? Perhaps you need to protect your sensitive client information from vandalism or system failure, or even...

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Announcing Simple Backup Service: A Simple Solution for Enterprise Data Protection

March 29, 2016
By Ryan Brockman, Product Owner – Simple Backup Service

simple-backup-service-image

Simple Backup Service Overview

Data is the lifeblood of day-to-day business operations in the modern enterprise. IT veterans are painfully familiar with the dreaded scenario of accidentally deleting something critical, like a production database. Imagine the impact to your business if this happened and you didn’t have a backup copy from which to restore. It's absolutely critical that your data is protected against unexpected loss or corruption.

Compounding the challenge of protecting critical data is the fact that data volumes are rapidly increasing to levels that stress a traditional legacy data protection approach. Legacy backup technologies may no longer be cost effective at scale. In many industries, data is also highly-regulated. New laws regulate where backup data can reside and for how long it must be retained in archive -- adding new complexity to the data protection strategy.

With those challenges in mind, the CenturyLink Cloud team is excited to announce the General Availability of Simple Backup Service (SBS), a new Internet-based cloud backup product that rethinks the “traditional” approach to enterprise data protection.

Flexible: No more “one size fits all” approach to backups. Create backup policies that match the precise location, frequency, and retention period required for your business.

Global Coverage: Store your backups...

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Take Control of Backups and Disaster Recovery!

March 8, 2016
By Jared Ruckle

Managing - and protecting - enterprise data is a thankless task. It requires tons of upfront planning and budgeting. Often there's a byzantine-style system of InfoSec policies to navigate.

Cloud services, thankfully, dramatically simplify the exercise. When corporate data lives in the public cloud already, many different tools can be deployed via automation to hedge against risk. Further, many of these tools do not require large upfront investments in licensing fees or infrastructure.

Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR) are complex topics. But it all starts with analyzing your requirements, and evaluating different products that might fit the bill.

A Shortlist of Options to Consider

At CenturyLink, we have a few different options worth considering which are described below. Each service can be evaluated via automated deployment with very little upfront investment. From self-service backup, to full-featured Disaster Recovery (DR), we summarize four choices in this post. Outlining each option, to give you insight into which solutions are the best fit for your business needs, and how to get started.

CenturyLink Cloud Simple Backup Service

Backup Graphic

Data is the lifeblood of any organization. Keeping that data safely backed up and accessible in the event of file corruption is crucial. On top of that, organizations may have different data...

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Six Data Backup Basics - Not Just for Cloud

January 7, 2016
By Mark Lee

Simple Backup ServiceLet's face it, you never know when the need will arise to restore or recover your data. We’ve all “been there, done that”, or we have it in the back of our mind that we’ll need to do it someday. However, the odds are that the need to restore won’t be triggered because of a disaster or a hack, but more likely because of common reasons such as: system/user error, corrupt data, deleted data, new environments, a legal hold request, or a Governance, Risk Management, or Compliance (GRC) program which requires that the data must be restored as proof that the data is being retained.

Whatever the case may be, the key to understanding data restoration is knowing that data backups are taking place to begin with; which means planning, implementation, and execution. These tasks can be daunting and riddled with details, which is why they are typically assigned to an operations team (including the planning). However, there are other contributors to backup planning: business owners, product owners, application/database owners, etc., especially when they have a vested interest in restoring or recovering after an issue or event has occurred. Naturally, you want (and need) the correct data restored as soon as...

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Six Reasons Cloud Disaster Recovery is Growing

October 6, 2015
By Pat Brennan, Cloud Specialist

Traditional IT Disaster Recovery (DR) is both expensive and brittle. Today, however, inexpensive and robust disaster protection is available to all organizations through the emergence of Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS), such as that offered by CenturyLink Cloud. The DRaaS market is exploding. In their Global Forecast Report, the research firm MarketsandMarkets estimates that today the DRaaS markets is $1.42BN, and that by 2020 the DRaaS market will be $11.92BN.

Cloud has driven this growth along with new technologies that allow companies to leverage their existing data center while also using the Cloud for DR. Some customers have begun using the Cloud for both their production data center as well as their recovery data center. In both cases, companies have been able to leverage the cloud to meet GRC (Governance, Regulatory and Compliance) requirements.

Today, in a global economy that runs 24x7x365, it is critical to have a DR plan that can be modified and tested as required. Unfortunately, many times these tests fail for one reason or another (e.g., modification to applications that depend on other applications, undocumented processes, issues with encryption keys, etc.). Let’s take a look at six primary benefits of DRaaS:

Key Benefits

1. Cost Savings

  • Compute (CPU and Memory) – cost incurred only
...

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying About My On-Prem Data Center and Love the Cloud: The Data Center Transformation Playbook

March 25, 2015
By Jared Ruckle, Product Manager

I was chatting with a CIO the other day about his goals and vision for the organization. Highlights: supporting 2x revenue growth over the next several years. Delivering a differentiated customer experience. Mobile apps. Empowering his teams in the field.

Pretty good list, right?

We went on to discuss how cloud services could help his company achieve all of the above. But there was another pressing project on his mind: retiring his on-premises data center, in favor of the public cloud. Why was this “data center transformation” project a high priority for him?

  • Risk due to location. Office buildings, no matter how secure, can’t compare to the facilities offered by most data center providers. Environmental factors come in to play as well – the threat of natural disasters and even shoddy HVAC systems keep execs up at night.
  • Inordinate amounts of human time and effort. Administering servers, running procurement, fiddling with cabling, monitoring power and cooling - it's time consuming. And there’s just no upside to it. Best case? Your team keeps things running on par with what an outsourced provider can deliver…only without the price drops and new features. Think of all the other things these folks could
...

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Safehaven Run Book Automation – A small change with a big impact

August 30, 2014
By Scott Good, Senior Product Manager

In an earlier post, we discussed SafeHaven for CenturyLink Cloud Disaster Recovery- as-a- Service (DRaaS) solution and the benefits it offers IT Administrators.  As we noted, failing over a multi-tiered application when executing a disaster recovery plan is critical. However, it’s not always as easy as it seems.  In order for a multi-tiered application to recover correctly, the VMs upon which it depends start up according to a prescribed “recovery plan.”  For instance, it is usually necessary for the database to be running before application servers boot and, similarly, necessary that application services be running before webservers boot.

Safehaven for CenturyLink Cloud’s latest feature enhancement, Run Book Automation, allows end users to configure custom shut-down and bring-up plans for each group of IT systems that received disaster protection.  For example, delivering web services often involves a set of interdependent workloads that need to start in a specific order and taking into account time intervals between applications.

For each group of IT systems within the CenturyLink Cloud, users can pre-configure and test recovery plans in the Safehaven Console that identifies bring-up and shut-down order, actions, delays, as well as any custom script to be executed as part of the recovery operation. ...

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Protect workloads with CenturyLink Cloud and Safehaven Disaster Recovery as a Service

March 10, 2014
By Jared Ruckle, Product Management

IT teams spend a good deal of time thinking about disaster recovery – and rightly so.  Unexpected downtime is hugely expensive, from a loss of productivity, to an immediate loss of revenue, to long-term damage to the corporate brand.

For disaster recovery of virtual machines already in the public cloud, CenturyLink Cloud’s premium storage option offers a simple, elegant option for enterprises.  Just click a button, and you have an RTO of 8 hours, and RPO of 24 hours in the event of a declared disaster.

What about protecting on-premise VMs?  This is a perfect workload for public clouds like CenturyLink Cloud.  Traditional DR systems are simply too hard to get up and running.  Too often, these products:

  • Take too long to deploy.  Many take months to plan, and then even more time to deploy.
  • Add cost and complexity.  Enterprises often need to bring in consultants or additional resources to manage the effort.
  • Increase CapEx. New hardware usually needs to be purchased and managed accordingly.
  • Require burdensome testing procedures.  Once a DR solution is deployed, users are often forced to navigate long, labor intensive lead times to conduct DR tests throughout the year.
  • To help customers protect on-premise VMs, we’re excited to launch Safehaven for CenturyLink Cloud. ...

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    Achieving High Availability in the Cloud: Part 1 - Provisioning Storage

    August 23, 2013
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    Does running your application in the cloud mean that it’s suddenly able to survive any problem that arises? Alas, no. Even while some foundational services of distributed systems are built for high availability, a high performing cloud application needs to be explicitly architected for fault-tolerance. In this multi-part blog series, we will walk through the various application layers and example how to build a resilient system in the CenturyLink Cloud cloud. Over the course of the next few posts, we will define what’s needed to build a complete, highly available system. The reference architecture below illustrates the components needed for a fictitious eCommerce web application.

    HA Application Architecture

    In this first post, we look at a core aspect of every software system: storage. What type of storage is typically offered by cloud vendors?

      *Temporary VM storage. Some cloud providers offer gobs of storage with each VM instance, but with the caveat that the storage isn’t durable and does not survive server shutdown or server failure. While this type of cheap and easy accessible block storage is useful in some situations, it’s not as familiar to enterprise IT staff who are used to storage that’s durable by default.

      *Persistent VM storage....

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    Look Beyond the Sticker Price: What It REALLY Costs to Run a Cloud App

    April 30, 2013
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    Companies embrace the cloud because it offers agility, speed to market, self-service, rapid innovation, and yes, cost savings. There are plenty of cases where organizations can save money by using cloud resources, but it’s easy to focus on vendor compute and storage pricing, and forget about all the other financial components of a cloud application. See Joe Weinman’s Cloudonomics for an excellent analysis of how to assess the economic impact of using the cloud. An application can very easily cost MORE in the cloud – but that might still be just fine, since it helps the business shed some CapEx and remove servers from corporate data centers. In this post, we’ll talk about the full scope of pricing cloud applications and give you a useful perspective for assessing the overall cost.

    Example application

    Businesses deploy applications, not servers. A typical application is comprised of multiple servers that perform different roles. For instance, let’s consider an existing, commercial website that receives a healthy amount of traffic. It uses a load balancer to route traffic to one of multiple web servers, leverages a series of application servers for caching and business services, and uses a relational database for persistent storage.

    n-tier web application

    To maximize revenue and customer...

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    Load Balancing, High Availability, and Disaster Recovery: What They Are and How We Can Help

    March 1, 2013
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    It’s easy for cloud customers to get confused about the roles and responsibilities of their internal team and their cloud vendor. That confusion is especially evident when it comes to application availability and business continuity planning. How does disaster recovery differ from high availability? Does my cloud provider automatically load balance my application servers? The answers to these questions are critical, but sometimes overlooked until a crisis occurs. In this post, we’ll talk about load balancing, high availability, and disaster recovery in the cloud, and what the CenturyLink Cloud’s cloud infrastructure has to offer.

    Load Balancing

    What is it?

    Wikipedia describes load balancing) as:

    Load balancing is a computer networking method to distribute workload across multiple computers or a computer cluster, network links, central processing units, disk drives, or other resources, to achieve optimal resource utilization, maximize throughput, minimize response time, and avoid overload. Using multiple components with load balancing, instead of a single component, may increase reliability through redundancy).

    You commonly see this technique employed in web applications where multiple web servers work together to handle inbound traffic. Load Balanced ApplicationThere are at least two reasons why load balancing is employed:

    • The required capacity is too large for a single machine. When running processes that consume a
    ...

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    CenturyLink Cloud Awarded Gold-Level Status in the NetApp Partner Program for Service

    July 3, 2012
    By CenturyLink Cloud Product Management

    CenturyLink Cloud Enterprise Cloud Platform’s Performance, Implementation and Disaster Recovery Capabilities Leverage NetApp Solutions

    BELLEVUE, Wash.—June 15, 2011—CenturyLink Cloud, the enterprise cloud company, today announced it is a Gold-level member in the NetApp Partner Program for Service Providers. Long coupled with flexible and efficient NetApp® storage and data management solutions, CenturyLink Cloud’s agile, self-optimizing enterprise cloud platform helps enterprises confidently run mission-critical, production applications in the cloud. CenturyLink Cloud first architected its enterprise cloud platform to include NetApp as part of its infrastructure in 2007, immediately reducing backup on an entire data center from 24 hours to one hour and cutting time to restore customer data from 3.5 days to under an hour. Now an official Gold-level member of the new Partner Program for Service Providers, CenturyLink Cloud will receive additional storage expertise, resources and best practices from NetApp that will enable the company to continue to meet the unique performance, implementation and disaster recovery needs of enterprise cloud-based applications and services.

    Our mission is to provide our customers with an enterprise-grade cloud platform with the SLAs, security and built-in disaster recovery they require,” said Adam Wray, chief executive officer, CenturyLink Cloud. “From the get-go, the secure multi-tenant architecture we built leveraging...

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    NetApp highlights CenturyLink Cloud’s successful deployment of NetApp gear to acceler

    July 3, 2012
    By

    NetApp recently posted a CenturyLink Cloud customer success story showcasing the impressive results we’ve been able to attain for our customers since implementing NetApp storage systems and associated software. Here are some of the notable benefits:

    • Helped provided enterprise-level backup and DR services at 10 times less cost than in-house infrastructures
    • Reclaimed 67% of storage in virtualized environment
    • Reduced backups of entire data center from 24 hours to one hour
    • Can now offer one-to eight-hour SLA for disaster recovery to every client

    By managing our storage environment and optimizing storage utilization with NetApp, we’ve been able to save time and money – in turn passing those savings along to our customers. Our expanding relationship with NetApp will continue to be a valuable asset as we continue to grow our operations and expand our cloud storage infrastructure to more SMBs. Click here to read the entire success story.

    ...

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    CenturyLink Cloud Launches Client Backup App for Enterprise Cloud

    July 3, 2012
    By CenturyLink Cloud Product Management

    Performs Automatic, Policy-Based Backup of End-User PCs in the Cloud; See Demo at VMworld® 2011 Today Through September 1 in Booth 213

    Today at VMworld® 2011, CenturyLink Cloud, Inc., an enterprise cloud platform provider, announced Client Backup, a secure, cloud-based file recovery application that ensures business continuity for users in the event critical data is accidentally deleted from individual computers. For no additional charge beyond the storage used, customers on the CenturyLink Cloud Enterprise Cloud Platform will now have current and past versions of their employees’ data available without relying on internal staff or local storage, and with no burden on end users. Most of the desktop backup solutions on the market today are meant for individual users, not optimized for entire organizations.

    With a comprehensive web control panel and admin accounts allowing centralized management, CenturyLink Cloud’s Client Backup is aimed squarely at IT managers needing a complete desktop backup solution for their companies’ employees. “Accidentally deleting critical documents can be such a time waster as we search around—with fingers crossed—for possible back-ups or reluctantly resort to starting over completely; it’s happened to us all,” said Jared Wray, chief technology officer, CenturyLink Cloud. “With our new client backup capabilities, users can...

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