Many e-commerce companies are now putting web services and their customer data bases in several sites at the same time, and practicing load balancing across different disaster zones. If any of the sites fail, the customer data can then be rerouted to a secondary site.
"They don't see the difference and that's the key," says Cappuccio. "The customers' perception is that you're always available — it might be a slightly degraded performance but it's available.
"If that site goes down, you start losing customers and we all know winning back customers is a whole lot more difficult than gaining new ones. Last impressions are forever."
Indeed, reputation drives customer retention, which drives revenue, and so businesses have realised disaster recovery needs to be designed around business continuity for critical applications.
"I've seen people build tier 4 environments across multiple tier 2 data centres which actually cost them less at the end of the day than if they'd built out one tier 4 data centre by themselves," adds Cappuccio.
Part of the problem for service continuity is determining what's critical and what's not. IT teams need to sit down with business units to single out mission critical applications, and the business impact if these goes down. Meanwhile, non-mission critical services and applications can be shifted to traditional disaster recovery services.
"It's like asking a business unit, from a DR perspective, how fast do you need this back up? Well, now! Right well that will cost you a million dollars a minute — okay we'll need it next month... you've got to ask the right questions," says Cappuccio.
On top of these changes, location and networking options are also becoming the key to everything. Colocation providers like Equinix have recently realised that their data centres were becoming irrelevant, and the real offering was the network between them.
"They presented the idea that if you want to run services in your data centre, but your racks are in their data centre, they can offer you an almost guaranteed latency between sites all around the world."
If you want to run multiple services or the same services in multiple places around the world, these colocation and hosting providers can do that for you. On top of this, some of their customers could be cloud providers.
"Say you wanted to run PaaS on Azure, well they'd say Azure happens to be running at 19 of this provider's data centres around the world, and so they're able to grant you private access to public cloud providers in the same site," adds Cappuccio.
"Suddenly the way I look at colocation and hosting begins to change pretty dramatically. It's all about service continuity not about what's the cost of floor space. It's not about hardware anymore."
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