As companies begin to utilize technology and the Internet for more essential business processes, employing a disaster recovery platform becomes increasingly important. Having a way to back up data becomes even more necessary when an organization is located in a hurricane-prone area like North Carolina.

When Jonathan Feldman took over as CIO for the city of Asheville, North Carolina, he was interested in expanding the city's use of its cloud infrastructure. Some systems were already being hosted in the cloud, such as geographic applications, IT development and testing environments. Feldman wanted to utilize a pre-built platform that could be automated to essentially put Asheville's disaster recovery on autopilot. When Feldman found out that the city's current disaster recovery operations were located in a facility only two blocks from his office, he knew they were going to need help implementing his plan.

"I was not comfortable with us coming up with a home-brewed automation system to do something as critical as disaster recovery," said Feldman in an interview with SaaS In The Enterprise contributor Tony Kontzer. "We don't do it enough to be a core competency for us."

Improving operations with cloud backup
After he decided to implement a cloud disaster recovery plan, Feldman started small to test the platform and how Asheville's systems would operate within it. He began by migrating important but non-essential operations, with plans to grow capacity once everything has been tested fully. In an interview with Cloud Communications contributor Carl Ford, Feldman explained that the platform was automated to test one system each quarter, with the test taking between one and four hours to complete.

"We're able to failover pretty quickly, and failover very inexpensively, and have a high degree of confidence because of automation," said Feldman in an interview with Tony Kontzer. "When we do disaster recovery, we know it's actually going to work. Between that and the geographic dispersion, that's huge."

With Asheville's disaster recovery operations positioned off site and hosted in the cloud, the city no longer has to worry about losing both their primary systems and their backups at the same time if a storm were to hit and knock out power. Employing a cloud-based disaster recovery plan also helped to reduce costs. The city only pays for disaster recovery services when they are being used, instead of having to pay to operate a full-time, physical facility.