User data and system data are the core and most important assets of enterprises in all industries. Stable service operation and normal IT system functionality are the most important development demands of enterprises. However, these demands often cannot be satisfied due to unpredictable natural or man-made disasters, including:
Therefore, it is very important to guarantee the service stability, proper operation of IT system functions, and data security for enterprises. In this context, solutions that support both system and application data backup and disaster recovery are emerging and developing rapidly.
Note A disaster recovery solution implements both disaster recovery and backup.
  • Backup refers to the creation of one or more replicas of the important data generated by application systems or critical original data.
  • Disaster recovery refers to the deployment of two or more IT systems with the same functions in two separate locations in the same city or in different cities. These systems mutually monitor each other's health and support failover and failback. In the event that a system stops working due to an accident (a natural or man-made disaster), all application system services fail over to another system so that they can be provided without interruption.

Shortcomings of traditional disaster recovery solutions

Traditionally, enterprises built their own disaster recovery centers based on their individual needs. However, such solutions are resource-intensive and face many challenges.
Traditional disaster recovery solution Feature Challenge
Use of application-level replication software Support for application-level disaster recovery
  • A remote IDC for disaster recovery must be built and maintained at a high cost.
  • Relevant software and hardware must be deployed, which are hard to maintain.
  • A large number of operations and tests are required for failback.
Use of Continuous Data Protection (CDP) technology
  • Support for application-level disaster recovery
  • Satisfactory RPO and RTO
  • A remote IDC for disaster recovery must be built and maintained at a high cost.
  • Expensive CDP devices are required.
  • Relevant software and hardware must be deployed, which are hard to maintain.
  • Data cached in applications cannot be replicated.
  • A large number of operations and tests are required for failback.
Use of storage devices to replicate data. Support for application-level disaster recovery
  • Effective support for application-level disaster recovery
  • Guaranteed RPO and RTO
  • A remote IDC for disaster recovery must be built and maintained at a high cost.
  • Expensive active-active storage devices and supporting network devices are required.
  • Relevant software and hardware must be deployed, which are hard to maintain.
  • The application awareness capability is limited and many scripts must be executed manually.
However, as their data scales increase rapidly and data value grows exponentially, enterprises have higher requirements for service continuity. Considering their huge investments, long construction times, and high maintenance costs, traditional disaster recovery solutions cannot meet the future development needs of IT systems.

Advantages of cloud disaster recovery solutions

In recent years, the steady and rapid development of cloud computing has given rise to cloud disaster recovery solutions. Cloud disaster recovery solutions boast lower costs and faster system recovery. The following table compares traditional disaster recovery solutions with cloud disaster recovery solutions.
Consideration Traditional disaster recovery solution Cloud disaster recovery solution
Implementation method The solutions are mostly based on physical devices. Relevant physical resources must be deployed at multiple sites. The disaster recovery sites and their sizes vary greatly with the system reliability requirements. The disaster recovery sites are deployed on a hybrid cloud or a public cloud.
Construction duration It takes several months to deploy the solutions. It takes several days to deploy the solutions.
Investment A large number of servers, storage devices, and physical network devices are required. The investment is huge. The initial investment is small. The solutions support auto scaling as actual service demands increase in the future.
O&M costs The devices must be maintained by a large number of professionals. The O&M costs are high. Maintenance by O&M professionals is not required.
Cloud disaster recovery solutions are more cost-effective, efficient, and scalable. They will be the mainstream disaster recovery solutions of the future.