[Also see A security checklist for cloud models]
Every Walz application that's running on FlexPod has a template associated with it, Falzarano says. These templates are checked into an "environments catalog", and are centrally managed by cloud management software. Using the software and the templates within an environment catalog, the IT team at Walz can maintain business continuity effectively, Falzarano says.
The consumption of resources (for example, CPU, memory, storage, bandwidth) for these environments are displayed via dashboard, alerting and reporting metrics, and detailed trending such as daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly consumption helps with planning, determining and provisioning the capacity needed for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes.
Using the cloud management tool Walz can set up defined policies for scaling out additional applications, and this allows it to maintain business continuity through a more automated, on-demand type of provisioning, Falzarano says.
The software also allows Walz to provision to its private cloud or to a service provider's private cloud. For example, if Walz is using 80 percent of the internal private cloud and suddenly sees a demand for a new application and wants to rapidly spin up development systems, it might choose to provision these development systems to a service provider's private cloud instead of provisioning systems to the remaining 20 percent on its private cloud, so that it can maintain some growth reservation. The same type of model can also be used for business continuity, Falzarano says.
Imperial Sugar operates a hybrid cloud environment, with about 95 percent of its applications running on a private cloud in its data center and the remainder accessed via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The private cloud is provided by a network service provider and the SaaS software is delivered by software vendors on a hosted basis, Muller says.
Because the cloud environment is maintained by service providers and software vendors, the onus falls on them to ensure continuity, and that can be a benefit as well as a risk, Muller says.
"When I have a third party hosting the environment for me I look to them as part of the service-level agreement to have the resources -- the people and hardware and infrastructure in place -- so that they can guarantee me if the hardware has a problem at one location they've got another location that will bring up my apps in a manner that is seamless to our internal users," Muller says. "That's sort of their problem, as long as I've got a strong service-level agreement in place with them."
On the other hand, even with a service-level agreement holding the service provider responsible there are no guarantees that service will not at some point be interrupted, Muller says.
Not everyone sees cloud computing as influencing business continuity. "As of today, I don't see a huge impact," Dines says. "However, I do expect this to become a significant complicating factor in the future. As more organizations outsource more services to the cloud, it will become the job of the business continuity manager to audit the recovery plans of many different suppliers."
In addition, Dines says, during a failure or testing, recovery will need to be coordinated across many different sites run by different vendors. "Longer-term, cloud will make business continuity much more complicated," she says.
Mobile devices in the workforce
The proliferation of mobile devices in the workforce is a benefit for business continuity strategies because it gives more flexibility for workforce recovery options, Dines says.