AWS Public Sector Blog

How CloudEndure Disaster Recovery opens the door to IT resilience for the public sector

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For public sector organizations, there is no room for service disruption. When faced with a natural disaster, emergency, or cyberattack, these organizations need to continue running mission-critical applications to power essential platforms such as call centers, patient and judicial databases, and online learning sites. A disaster recovery (DR) strategy is necessary for public sector organizations that need to be there for their communities.

Until recently, many disaster recovery (DR) solutions were expensive, especially for the public sector. Traditional on-premises DR solutions required secondary data centers, whereby customers had to pay for idle high-performance compute, duplicate software licenses, and other resources to ensure disaster readiness.

Backup or DR?

Because of the challenges of DR, many public sector organizations focus on seemingly simpler and established backup solutions. However, backup is not built to recover applications or prevent downtime. Backups can save data, but in the event of a severe IT disruption, it might take days of manual work to restore the data and get workloads operating again. Instead, DR aims to protect data and to get data and entire applications operating as quickly as possible.

CloudEndure Disaster Recovery

CloudEndure Disaster Recovery, offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), can help organizations reduce DR total cost of ownership (TCO) and achieve business continuity. With CloudEndure Disaster Recovery, organizations of any size can use AWS as an elastic recovery site without investing in recovery data centers or paying for idle duplicate resources. CloudEndure Disaster Recovery also improves resilience. It deploys quickly and provides the same process regardless of operating system (OS) version or application. It also enables customers to conduct frequent DR readiness tests without impacting replication or user activities.

Figure 1: The architecture diagram depicts how CloudEndure Disaster Recovery works.

Figure 1: The architecture diagram depicts how CloudEndure Disaster Recovery works.

CloudEndure Disaster Recovery continually replicates data from your source infrastructure (physical, virtual, or cloud) into a low-cost staging area in your preferred AWS Region. This staging area is the key to lower TCO. Since the staging area does not run a live version of your workloads, you do not pay for duplicate software licenses or high-performance compute. Rather, you pay for low-cost compute and storage. The fully provisioned recovery environment is only launched when you initiate a failover during an IT disruption or DR test.

CloudEndure Disaster Recovery bills hourly per managed server, so you can scale usage up or down as needed, without long-term contracts. This is helpful for organizations with fluctuating amounts of data, like those that increase operations during natural disasters, medical crises, or other community emergencies.

DR for multiple applications and databases

Public sector organizations depend on a variety of applications; for example: Oracle Database, Oracle ERP, SAP ERP, SAP S/4 HANA, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft SQL Server. The diversity of applications can make it complicated, labor intensive, and costly to set up and maintain separate DR solutions—especially if you need to use app-specific DR software.

CloudEndure Disaster Recovery replicates data at the block level, which allows organizations to use it for all applications and databases that run on supported versions of Windows and Linux OS. CloudEndure Disaster Recovery provides a singular process for implementing, operating, and auditing recovery readiness regardless of what application or database is involved. For a technical deep dive into setting up a CloudEndure Disaster Recovery project, check out this no-cost 90-minute online course.

Recovery objectives

To return quickly to normal operations during an IT disruption, applications need to be recovered quickly and data needs to be protected. These two requirements are defined as recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). RTO is the maximum amount of time your organization can tolerate downtime during an IT disruption. RPO is the maximum amount of time in which your data might be lost.

Customers use CloudEndure Disaster Recovery to achieve RTOs of minutes and RPOs of seconds. For example, when Malibu Boats experienced a server outage in their primary data center, they used CloudEndure Disaster Recovery to launch a rapid failover to AWS. Within minutes they were able to return their backend applications—and their boat manufacturing plant—to normal operations.

Ransomware recovery

Public sector organizations that use CloudEndure Disaster Recovery can choose which version of their source servers to launch in their target site. For example, if your source servers have been corrupted as a result of accidental system changes or cyberattacks such as ransomware, you can launch applications from a previous, uncorrupted, consistent point in time rather than in their most up-to-date state.

Figure 2: In the CloudEndure Console, users can select the recovery point from which to launch their target machines.

Figure 2: In the CloudEndure Console, users can select the recovery point from which to launch their target machines.

DR best practices

For a successful DR implementation, begin by mapping your source environment and selecting the servers you want to replicate. For each of these servers, identify storage and networking properties, define the recovery objectives (RPO and RTO), and rightsize your target Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. This can be performed in a self-service manner or with assistance from AWS Professional Services or an AWS Partner Network (APN) Partner.

The mapping, server list, and recovery objectives should be included in your DR plan. Also, include your incident response procedures, action response procedures, and communication plan.

Once you have set up your DR project, perform regular testing. DR tests demonstrate whether your DR solution is adequate and will prepare your engineers and supporting teams to respond quickly and accurately to a disaster. CloudEndure Disaster Recovery helps organizations conduct DR tests without worrying about performance disruption or data loss. Conducting a test does not stop replication and does not impact the source application.

To learn more about CloudEndure Disaster Recovery and watch a demo, visit the product page. Public sector organizations can apply for Project Resilience Credits to conduct a proof of concept (POC) with support from AWS Professional Services. And read more about disaster recovery and disaster response.