When a disaster happens, you’ll need a recovery site to continue operations. In this video, you’ll learn about cold sites, hot sites, warm sites, and cloud recovery sites.
Many organizations will create a disaster recovery plan that involves a separate facility. This is site resiliency, where you have another physical site that you could go to if there happens to be a problem. This means you would have some type of preparation you would do prior to the disaster to prepare that particular location. This may also include synchronizing data between your primary data center and this backup location.
If a disaster occurs and your primary site is no longer available, you now have the option to call a disaster, and failover all of your business processes to this alternate location. This failover may be something that only occurs for a number of hours.
But if this is a major disaster, you could end up using this secondary location for weeks or even months at a time. And of course, once the disaster is over and the primary site is available again, we can then move everything back to that primary location by reversing this process.
One type of recovery site is a cold site. This is, effectively, an empty building. It provides you with power, but it doesn’t really provide much else. There’s no data in this building, which means you would need to bring all of your data tapes or have some type of backup available for your cold site.
You would have no people at this site, so you would need to bus people in or somehow transport people into this facility. So it would really be your responsibility to provide the hardware, the applications, the data, and everything needed to get this site up and running.
A hot site is the exact opposite of a cold site. A hot site is an exact replica of your existing running data center that has duplicate equipment, duplicate power systems, and duplicate data. This is often stocked with hardware. And when you’re purchasing for your primary data center, you would almost automatically purchase for the hot site as well.
There would usually, also, be a very high-speed data connection between your primary data center and the hot site, so that you can constantly back up your data and have a complete duplicate of everything running at the hot site.
Since everything is already at a hot site and already ready to go, it’s usually a faster process to convert over to the hot site than if you were trying to get a cold site up and running. The problem with a cold site is there is a lot of prep you have to do to get that site up and running. And with the hot site, there’s a lot of expense associated with that. If you wanted to have some type of recovery site that was in-between a cold site and a hot site, you would have a warm site.
A warm site might provide rack space, HVAC, and perhaps, some other infrastructure, but you would still need to provide the hardware. Or maybe you have hardware provided at the warm site and you simply need to bring your applications and your data.
The amount of prep that you would need to do for a warm site would usually be associated with the amount of money that would be charged to provide this service. If your organization needs to get back up and running quickly but can’t afford the costs of maintaining an always-on hot site, then a warm site might be a better alternative.
Instead of moving all of these systems to a separate physical location, you may want to consider moving everything to a cloud recovery site. Most cloud providers have existing infrastructure and resources available and instant availability if you need to move applications or data into these cloud services. This means that you wouldn’t have to maintain a separate physical facility. And you could send all of your data and configure all of your systems online.
The costs associated with a cloud site can vary, but they’re usually based on either a flat fee or based on the amount of use. So if you use more data and more storage, you’ll be billed more for the duration of that recovery. This still requires that you document a process so you know exactly what cloud services need to be provisioned. And you need to understand how you will get the data from your existing data center into the cloud site.