#SaveTheData 3: Redundant Cloud Considerations

#SaveTheData is a blog series in which we explore how the cloud handles redundancy in Microsoft Azure. The concept of redundancy is pretty simple: your data is important and you don’t want to lose important things or face downtime- so let’s have several sets of the same data exist in multiple places. The cloud offers several redundancy options that, if implemented correctly, allow full backups of your data to be ready, restored, and accessed in case the worst happens.

If you have been following this series, you should by now be familiar with how Microsoft’s Azure tackles data redundancy. As we come to the end of this topic (for now), I thought it would be beneficial to provide some advice on what to consider when implementing these cloud redundancy solutions in your organizations.

The benefits of cloud redundancy should be fairly obvious by now. The cloud provides access to geographically widespread redundancy without having to set up your own data centers everywhere. It can be cost-effective, instantaneous and the setup, as well as maintenance, are provided as a service. There are various forms of encryption at rest and transit that are provided for you, and, if you are in Europe, the GDPR and its policies are also implemented. 

So let’s take a look at some considerations. 

What does your organization need?

It can be tempting to just jump on to the ‘safest’ solution with the highest guaranteed Service License Agreement (SLA). The SLA is a percentage of time the cloud provider guarantees uptime. So 99.95% uptime seems like a lot, which it is, but it does allow for 4 hours of downtime per year. Depending on your organization, that’s an average weekend for you, or it’s millions lost in revenue. 

Therefore it is important to make sure that you understand what exactly it is that your organization needs, maybe even what the project’s needs are. Does the service have to be as highly available as possible? How much downtime can you afford? What is the cost of an hour of downtime for you? These questions are all relevant and should be taken into consideration when deciding your cloud strategy.

Which resources in your organization need to be highly available?

It’s a misconception that every resource you deploy into the cloud needs to be highly available. This can be a significant cost addition if instead of carefully assessing the resources for a day, you simply decide to make all possible resources highly available. Only a sub-section of your data likely needs to be highly available.

If you are on the other side of the spectrum, and need an even more options, looking into multi-cloud redundancy is an option – that would however only be for the most extreme situations.

Invest in DevOps/Ci-Cd Pipelines

It could be that the worst happens, you face some downtime. However, if you have to manually redeploy applications, configure VMs or applications, you are doing something wrong. Make sure that you invest in engineers who can automate your application deployments.

Especially if you have large applications, that are not fault-tolerant, it would be a good idea to think about setting up various DevOps pipelines. You can refer to one of my previous blog posts on DevOps Pipelines if you are unfamiliar with this topic.

Now that you are more familiar with redundancy, you can help your organizations make more informed decision when setting up cloud strategies in the future – and hopefully, save some $$$.

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