New findings from a study by Veritas Technologies, indicate that an alarming majority (60 percent) of respondents have not fully evaluated the cost of a cloud outage to their business and are therefore ill prepared to deal with the impact of an outage. While cloud service providers offer infrastructure-based service level objectives, the research indicates that many organizations fail to understand their own responsibility, in addition to that of the cloud service providers’, in ensuring that their critical business applications are adequately protected in the event of an outage.
Understanding Cloud Outages
The Truth in Cloud study, commissioned by Veritas and conducted by Vanson Bourne, surveyed 1,200 global business and IT decision makers. It revealed that almost all (99 percent) of IT decision makers reported that their organizations will move systems to the cloud in the next 12 to 24 months. Over a quarter (27 percent) also expect to outsource all on-premises infrastructure to the public cloud.
While migration to the cloud continues to accelerate, it is imperative that customers understand how an outage could impact their business. More than one in three respondents (36 percent) expect less than 15 minutes of downtime per month but the reality is that almost a third (31 percent) have experienced downtime more than double that per month (31 minutes or more).
Who is Responsible in the Event of a Cloud Outage?
More than half (59 percent) of the respondents believe that dealing with cloud service interruptions is the primary responsibility of the cloud service provider. Eighty-three percent of respondents also believe that their organization’s cloud service provider is responsible for ensuring that their workloads and data in the cloud are protected against outages.
While cloud service providers have service level agreements in place, these are typically for the infrastructure layer and they hold the responsibility for restoring their infrastructure in the event of a cloud outage. However, there are other key considerations customers should keep in mind that go beyond the actual infrastructure-level outage, such as bringing their applications back online, once the infrastructure is back online.
Depending on the complexity of application inter-dependencies during restart and the amount of data lost during the outage, the actual time of application recovery may be far longer than the time of infrastructure recovery. An organization may alternately decide to be more proactive and failover applications back to their on-premises data center or to another cloud. This would be the primary responsibility of the organization, not the cloud service provider.
“Organizations are clearly lacking in understanding the anatomy of a cloud outage and that recovery is a joint responsibility between the cloud service provider and the business,” said Mike Palmer, executive vice president and chief product officer, Veritas. “Immediate recovery from a cloud outage is absolutely within an organization’s control and responsibility to perform if they take a proactive stance to application uptime in the cloud. Getting this right means less downtime, financial impact, loss of customers’ trust and damage to brand reputation.”
Maximizing the Benefits of the Cloud While Minimizing the Risks
Not knowing the full extent of how a cloud outage could potentially impact business is a risk very few organizations can afford to take. But, the risks can be severely mitigated with the right business resiliency strategies in place to reap the benefits of embracing a multi-cloud world.
“At Veritas, we fully embrace a multi-cloud approach and partner with many leading cloud service providers to help customers easily migrate applications and data to, from and in-between clouds, all while offering maximum business uptime,” said Palmer. “We work with the cloud service providers and our customers to help ensure that they are protected in the event of a cloud outage so they can keep their businesses flourishing.”