In the wake of an Amazon cloud error that effected people the world over, Don Foster, senior director at Commvault, discusses the importance of knowing how to quickly recover your data should disaster strike.
On Tuesday 28th February, many IT departments got the call they don’t want: “Our website is down, e-commerce is down. What else is affected? What are you going to do about it and when?”
Just after noon US Eastern Standard Time, the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) cloud storage buckets in US-East-1 region had a situation where ‘increased error rates’ were affecting connectivity to major websites and services.
The effects were widespread. Government, tech, sales, marketing, academic and e-commerce sites were down or too slow to function. Companies lost money and people were upset.
While some customers were understanding, others threatened to pull their business. Many publicly shared their discontent on social media. Companies experienced the kind of media coverage they don’t want.
The big lessons from today: know where your data lives and know how quickly you can recover data for your business.
Cloud Data Recovery Lesson #1: Manage Data by Region
It’s OK to put all your data in one public cloud, but you need a viewpoint of where the data lives across regions. If a region has an outage, your data management platform should give you a clear view of data across multi-regions.
If your data lives in the East, ensure you have a complete data back up in the West or a region on another continent. If an outage happens, you can recover quickly in the other region and keep your business running during the service outage.
The important part here is back up. Critical data and services native to the cloud should ensure back ups are scheduled in/across/from clouds so your data is available. Automated back ups – and the ability to verify those back ups – make your life a lot less stressful.
Cloud Data Recovery Lesson #2: Know Where Your Data Lives
Unfortunately, many companies found out what ran in the Amazon S3 US-East-1 region. Really, you should already have the locations of all of your data available at your fingertips.
When you move data to a public cloud, don’t assume data is protected across regions. Actively manage your data storage so you know where your company’s most vital asset – data – is located.
You need a dashboard that quickly shows you what data is affected by an outage, letting you create a quick report and have the answers before the CIO calls. So, if the East is down, you know and are already working to recover in the West.
Point solutions for data back up or cloud recovery don’t give you a big picture view of the data landscape – and you’ll have multiple versions of the truth. Plus, do you really have that much IT headcount to look at multiple point solutions and piece together a report of what data is affected?
Cloud Data Recovery Lesson #3: Have a Data Recovery Plan B
Hopefully you’ve been maintaining a copy of your data outside your primary region. Perhaps you’ve been making copies on site and moving them to the cloud or vice versa. Regardless, you now have to look at how to bring your services online somewhere else. Do you even have that capability?
What if all your data was in Amazon AMI format and your on-premises infrastructure is Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware? How do you crack into the data and make it usable?
You need the portability to move data between locations and across platforms – flexibility that’s beyond what the native cloud tools can offer today.
If a source is unavailable, you need to enable recovery in place, out of place, and between different hypervisor platforms. If US-East-1 is unavailable, you need flexibility to restore that data locally, or into AWS US-West, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, or others.
Cloud Data Recovery Lesson #4: Develop a Data Strategy Today
Many IT teams are working on data strategies that include from cloud to on-premises and from cloud to cloud.
We have been talking about cloud data management with customers around the globe. An outage gives everyone a wake-up call to get serious about a data management strategy.
It’s important to focus on the management and protection of data as a differentiator for customers who are thinking about keeping their business running.