By Kevin Ledford
Chief Operating Officer
The CIO’s Finest Hour
The year was 1997, and the Ohio river was rising. The Cincinnati city manager had placed all the downtown businesses on alert: “If the river failed to crest, city services could not be guaranteed.” So we pulled out our warm site documentation, warned our executive management, and prayed that we would not have to begin the arduous task of bringing a warm site location to life.
That was 19 years ago; but, in tech years, it was like a century ago. While most of us have long moved away from storing equipment and back-up tapes in off-site locations, disaster recovery and business continuity planning (DRBC) still remains top of mind with the CIO.
Fortunately for all of us, the era of Cloud computing has provided the economic agility and scalability that simply did not exist in the past for disaster recovery planning. From flexible storage options for critical data to hybrid recovery strategies across on premises, co-locations or public providers, the Cloud continues to mature in the area of BCP planning. Sophisticated failover and distributed operations are now well within the reach of SMB and large enterprises alike. Sunk capital costs have shifted to variable “pay-per-use” models, and the ability for a CIO to virtually extend his/her traditional data center operations is the new norm.
Disaster recovery planning has been around for a long time and has never been a one size fits all. Because of this, each organization will more than likely require a unique approach. The flexibility of the Cloud permits the CIO to evolve their DR strategy in stages. These evolutions usually come as thresholds are met (end of life equipment, contractual expirations, new business requirements, etc).
In my experience, I have seen the Cloud used as a simple bridge between data centers and managed service providers to enable DR; and I have also seen the Cloud used to establish “hot standby” environments with the public Cloud service providers. Whatever the decision, the savvy CIO now has a multitude of Cloud options to not only fulfill his DR and BC plans, but also to bolster his daily operations.
New Cloud analytics tools are now emerging that allow the enterprise to quickly compare and contrast critical application workloads and scenarios against the most recent public and managed service provider catalogs. While the primary purpose of these analytics are to help the enterprise understand cost, compliance, security, and SLA dynamics, they also greatly assist in what appears to be the next evolution of “just in time” disaster recovery planning.
I had an old mentor tell me that disaster recovery planning brings with it little glory and even less forgiveness. I would like to think that the Cloud now measurably changes this dynamic and that innovative DR and BC plans just might be the CIO’s finest hour. Oh and as for the great Ohio river flood of 1997, the river crested just below the critical stage, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
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About Kevin Ledford
Kevin Ledford (mvf@mrledford1498 ) is the Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at CloudGenera Inc. He received degrees in Computer Science and Business from Anderson University in Indiana. Ledford is a Cloud enthusiast and evangelist. He has a passion for disrupting digital technologies and their impact on the enterprise business strategy; and he often speaks about the value proposition of these disruptive technologies for the private, public, and not for profit sectors. With three daughters, Ledford is also an enthusiastic supporter of the millennial generation and gender diversity across the tech industry.
Kevin Ledford is the former Senior VP, IT & CIO of Chiquita Brands Intl. As early adopters of Cloud first technologies, Mr. Ledford led Chiquita’s transformation into the Cloud with the implementation of numerous SaaS/Paas offerings.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.