The City of Asheville’s City on a Cloud Best Practices win spells trouble for traditional DR. Deep trouble. It marks the first time that Cloud DR has been independently and irrefutably acknowledged for both cost reduction and increased agility. It was more than an acknowledgement that Cloud DR could work. Asheville won a Grand Prize in a global best practices competition.
Their use of AWS as a secondary data center for DR was validation that cloud DR was a powerful enough use case to stand out against stiff international competition across a multitude of cities, according to a panel of independent judges:
Scott Case of Startup America; St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Christopher Coleman, president of the National League of Cities; Bob Sofman, co-executive director of Code for America; and thought leaders from The Aspen Institute, White House Office of Social Innovation, and Civic Participation, plus others.
You can read more about it here: A Cloud Disaster Recovery Story (InformationWeek).
A multi-billion industry of third part data centers and DR facility and management providers should take notice. Before Asheville leveraging the public cloud for disaster recovery was seen as being similar to traditional DR, yet more complex to set up. That has changed. Asheville CIO Jonathan Feldman summarized the payoff well (InformationWeek):
Ultimately, we probably will still move our current alternative datacenter to another location to back up things like VoIP and public safety radio. But I can tell you this: That new datacenter will cost far less, and it will be far smaller, than the one we initially planned to build. And we won’t waste money buying duplicate gear either. Another important outcome is that, because of the cost reduction (about a tenth of the cost for capital, according to our infrastructure manager), we have moved to also protect systems that are “important, but not urgent,” systems that were too expensive to protect in the past.
You can also listen to Jonathan discuss Cloud DR “do’s and don’ts” and “lessons learned” here at: Advanced Strategies for Leveraging AWS for Disaster Recovery (YouTube).
Or you can download the webinar slides for easy reference.