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As companies continue to take advantage of cloud computing to realize benefits such as rapid deployment and scalability, they may be hitting a pain point when it comes to a fundamental requirement: providing for disaster recovery, especially when using multiple cloud providers.

It’s difficult enough to ensure data protection and disaster recovery (DR) when all data is located on-premises. But today many companies have data on-premises as well as with multiple cloud providers, a hybrid strategy that may make good business sense but creates challenges for those charged with data protection.

In this post, we’ll outline some of the pain points that a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy presents as well as best practices on how to overcome them.

Multi-cloud DR pain points

Failing to read the fine print. “The first pain point may come if customers fail to read the fine print in their cloud contracts,” says Dave Little, Global Technical Account Manager at Veritas. The contract will undoubtedly make clear that data protection is a shared responsibility: The cloud provider is responsible for its compute infrastructure, but customers are responsible for protecting their applications and data.

Developing a centralized protection policy. “Another issue is developing a centralized protection policy that covers all data, no matter where it lives,” says Ralph Wynn, who is also a Global Technical Account Manager at Veritas.

“Each cloud provider has its own way of accessing, creating, moving, and storing data, with different storage tiers,” Wynn says. “It can be cumbersome to create a disaster recovery plan that covers data across different clouds.”

Reporting. This is an important issue to ensure you’re protecting data in accordance with the service-level agreements that govern it. Given how quickly users can spin up cloud resources, it can be challenging to make sure you’re protecting each resource appropriately and identifying all data that needs to be incorporated into your DR plan.

Test your DR Plan. Finally, you need to fully vet and test your DR plan.

“A multi-cloud strategy compounds the need for testing,” Little observes. Keep in mind some providers may charge you for testing, which reinforces the need to read the fine print of the contract.

Overcoming the multi-cloud DR challenge

Meeting these challenges requires companies to develop a data protection and recovery strategy that covers numerous issues.

Ask strategic questions. When working with customers, Little says he asks a series of questions to help define the strategy, including:

  • Have you defined the level of criticality for all applications and data?
  • Do you have a retention policy for data?
  • Will data protection and recovery be handled by IT or application owners and creators in a self-service model?
  • Did you plan for data optimization, using a variety of cloud- and premises-based options?
  • How do you plan to recover data? Restoring data to cloud-based virtual machines or using a backup image as the source of recovery?

Conduct data discovery. Another effective strategy is to conduct data discovery before moving to the cloud, to understand what you’re moving and why. You don’t want to move data that you don’t really need, for example, which is where the retention policies come into play.

Get the right tool for the multi-cloud DR job

The biggest key to success in data protection and recovery in a multi-cloud scenario is ensuring you have visibility into all of your data, no matter where it’s stored. Tools from companies such as Veritas enable you to define which data and applications should be recovered in a disaster scenario and how to do it – whether from a backup image or by moving data to newly created VMs in the cloud, for example.

The tool should help you orchestrate the recovery scenario and, importantly, test it. If the tool is well integrated with your data backup tool, it can also allow you to use backups as a source of recovery data, even if the data is stored in different places – like multiple clouds.

To learn more, go to https://www.veritas.com/