There is no universally accepted definition of “Cloud Continuity”, with multiple IT vendors in the high-availability and data protection space utilising the term to describe aspects of their own solutions.
However, by reviewing multiple definitions, we can draw some consistent features of the constituent elements of cloud continuity.
Cloud continuity refers to an approach to enable zero or near-zero downtime in the event that an IT application fails or crashes. A replica of the application will be saved on a cloud platform and can be activated and made live in a very short amount of time (seconds or minutes) in order to ensure the application is running and available to users with next to no downtime.
By combining high-availability techniques such as data and application replication and failover, and applying it to cloud technology, cloud continuity enables the use of cloud to provide continuity of IT-based applications. Unlike traditional technology continuity approaches, cloud continuity is hardware ambivalent, focusing on providing continuity at application and data level.
Cloud continuity brings certain benefits compared to other forms of high-availability technology.
It removes the need for redundant hardware, and because it is based on virtual machines, replacement compute services can be spun up from standstill in seconds.
Based on cloud flexibility and scalability, the challenge of failing over an application to a cloud-based platform is more straightforward than hardware-centric replication methods. As such, cloud continuity enables application failover for multiple reasons, not only when systems have crashed.
Unlike traditional replication, cloud continuity allows for multiple historic recovery points. So that if you need to failover your application to 10, 20 or 40 minutes before your failure occurred, this should be possible to achieve.
Cloud continuity refers to the recovery element of the continuity process, meaning that primary systems do not have to be cloud-based. Primary systems, whether on-premises or based on public cloud, can be replicated to another cloud. In the event that failover is required, even the applications that were running on-premises can be spun up in the cloud.
Companies like Arcserve, that have been providing high-availability solutions for decades, have in recent times built cloud continuity options into their own offerings. Have a read of this Special Focus: Leveraging Cloud and Appliances to Protect Modern Business to learn more.