Hot and Cold Sites for Data Recovery
A data center outage can prove to be catastrophic if key business data or models run on these data centers. Normally there are two choices for recovery when disaster strikes – using a Hot Site or a Cold Site.
A Hot Site is one where you have all necessary hardware infrastructure such as servers, computers, etc. as well as backup of your entire data and information along with required software components. Your team can easily perform your recovery operations as every resource is ready to go, and normal services can be restored within a short time. This kind of recovery mechanism is preferred when you have limited Recovery Time Objective (RTO). When the RTO is below a small level, say 3 hours, then using a Hot Site is the best idea to quickly resume service. However, Hot Sites are costly and you may have to shell out a fortune to avail these premium services. Many small enterprises may not have deep pockets to fund this recovery mechanism.
A Cold Site on the other hand is a fresh new recovery site where there is no hardware and software infrastructure available for use by a recovery team. Or there may be hardware components such as servers, but recovery professionals may have to reload all their data and software for further processing. These services are economical but they can only be opted for if you have sufficiently long RTO, say more than 18 hours. Recovery of critical data cannot be entrusted with this mechanism as it takes a longer time.
With both methods having their own value proposition for prospective clients, it is up to the business to decide based on their assessment of impacts of delays in recovery.