Disaster recovery in the cloud


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Disaster recovery in the cloud

  1. 1. Disaster Recovery in the CloudCase Study
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  3. 3. 3Case StudyKey Drivers■ Limitations on server capacity.■ Constraints to learningapproaches.■ Limitations of buildings.■ Data security risks.■ Having a single point of failurefor security attacks.Intended BeneficiariesLearners at all college centresincluding remote ones andlearners at international locations.Prospective Learners.Staff.Employers.Partners.All users of college IT systems.Colleges and ProjectsJoseph Chamberlain College JCC Silver Lining(part of a wider project) South Devon College Cloud Access and Backup(part of a wider project) South Tyneside College Offsite Resilience via Cloud ComputingWalsall College Cloud Storage SolutionSummaryThese projects are concerned with back up in the Cloud of the whole or part of a college’s data. Solutionsused included Microsoft Azure, Amazon Glacier, Crash Plan and Redstor. Veeam Cloud has been usedfor a private cloud.One project includes integration between public and private Cloud Solutions tomaximise resilience. Another was confined to back up of data used at remote sites
  4. 4. 4Case StudyImpact to date and anticipatedThe main impact of these projects is having robust disaster recovery arrangements in place whichrelate directly to maintaining business critical college activities. As colleges expand into areas such asacademies, UTC and international learning the need for robust DR becomes increasingly critical. Theseprojects have raised an understanding of risk.Joseph Chamberlain College: “Online backup is working very well. It removes the “techie” aspect thatis often associated with managing an in house backup solution that can consist of a number of technicalcomponents”.South Tyneside College: “South Tyneside’s key challenge is that 1/3 of our turnover is derived fromlearners in the Marine Industry located in 73 countries. This added to the disaster recovery requirementsin requiring 24/7 support. The campus front end server is replicated in the Cloud”.Walsall College: “Walsall College already had an established disaster recovery / business continuityprocess that utilised two well-connected campuses. Walsall College also provided backup and hostingfor a local all through academy and a University Technical College. The key challengesfacing our current DR solution was the fact that the campuses were only a mile apart and long termarchiving was proving difficult due to storage requirements.Walsall College has integrated public and personal cloud solutions to significantly increase the resilienceof our disaster recovery plan. We are developing a seamless integration between our on-site privatecloud and public cloud solutions to reduce server infrastructure replacement cost while maintainingexcellent service uptime. We have significantly improved the IT services department’s understanding ofpublic cloud solutions and have enhanced the college’s business continuity plan with the use of cloudsolutions”.Supplier engagement experiencesThe main issues encountered were cost effectiveness including bandwidth costs, the knowledge ofsupplier representatives, supplier capability to deliver 24/7 services, the ability of a supplier to contractwith the college in reasonable timescales and the location of the supplier’s data centre.Joseph Chamberlain College: “The move to cloud based backup was managed well by our partner andRedstor and the switch was simple and straightforward. “South Devon College: “We used long standing contacts with years of IT experience to recommend cloudservice suppliers and having met several, the decision and implementation was very simple. Contactingthem to report issues has been simple”.South Tyneside College: “Selecting suppliers was relatively straight-t forward; however, signing upto their service was traumatic. This was largely due to large scale suppliers not understanding the FESector”.
  5. 5. 5Case StudyWalsall College: ”We tried a large variety of different cloud providers and software solutions to archiveWalsall College’s data in the cloud. We also experienced large scale suppliers not understanding the FESector. We settled on Amazon Glacier and have recently completed a full upload of all important data tothe cloud. Evaluation included price/GB and took into account band with costs.Technical and Security ChallengesThe main issues here are turn-around times and encryption considerations, in particular the value of acollege encrypting its own data before it is transferred to the Cloud. This should allay the fears of manycolleges about the security of data in the Cloud.South Tyneside College: “Establishing a VPN connection between ourselves and the cloud provider,mainly caused by having to figure out the appropriate settings required by our firewall/router tointerface correctly with their systems”.Walsall College: ”We required all our data to be encrypted by Walsall College before it was transferredacross to the cloud provider. Dependent on data security requirements the data is encrypted with a 128- 448-bit data key before transfer and remains encrypted at the data centre until recovery is requested.The data centre is compliant with ISO 27001 and BS 25999. This maintains the College’s ownership ofthe data as it can only be read with knowledge of these encryption keys. We tested several softwaresolutions before settling on one that fulfilled these criteria. An important factor in the supplier decision isthe location of the data centre, which should be kept in the EU for legal/access reasons. Walsall’s data onAmazon Glacier are held in Ireland”Change Management experienceThe predominant theme here is that change management in Disaster Recovery Projects is limited in themain to technical staff.South Tyneside College: “Most of the changes have been related to internal IT processes therefore havehad limited impact and only affected IT staff”Walsall College: “Change management was limited in this project as we had no current long termarchive solution. The changes are transparent to the student but have allowed us to go back further withour archiving and data recovery should the student lose data.”Return on InvestmentWhilst robust disaster recovery arrangements are the over-riding goal, these colleges are demonstratingthat moving disaster recovery from an in-house solution to one delivered as a utility is being achievedwith significant cost savings.Joseph Chamberlain College; “Moving to a cloud based backup solution has resulted in time and costsavings in man hours. An improvement in service and a quicker turnaround for data restores than ourlegacy backup system”.
  6. 6. 6Case StudySouth Thameside College: “Savings of approximately £40K compared to the replacement of existing DRfacilities”Walsall College:” Future costs savings have been estimated at around £20k. On the last occasion werefreshed our on-site backup solution we spent approximately £24,000 Hardware + £6500 Software. Withthe requirement to increase the amount of time we store backup data we expected this cost to increaseat the next refresh. Our testing and implementation shows Walsall College could save approx. £20,000on our next backup refresh by keeping the on-site storage to a minimum and extend our existing refreshcycle by at least one academic year”.Walsall College: “This project has given us the option to release expensive and required on site storage tobe better utilised for other more business critical solution”.Lessons LearnedJoseph Chamberlain College: “Expect the unexpected, and the easiest and simple tasks are often themost complex. e.g., our local xserve backup is currently indicating it will take 19 days to complete itslocal backup!”.South Tyneside College:” Allow more time to sign up for contracts!”Walsall College : “The cloud market and associated pricing structures are changing quickly , thismakes it difficult to assess long term costs”
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  8. 8. © Association of Colleges 20132 - 5 Stedham Place, London WC1A 1HUTel: 020 7034 9900 Fax: 020 7034 9950Email: sharedservices@aoc.co.uk Website: www.aoc.co.uk@info_AoCWith thanks to all project partners who contributed to the developmentof this case study and consultant Chris West