It’s the cloud, it’s highly available. Do I need to worry about HA and DR?

Short answer: Yes.

While yes the cloud is highly available and services that are taking offline due to hardware failures, host server reboots due to patching, etc. can your application survive being down for several minutes in the middle of the day?5553722800_f673c52839_o

If the answer to that question is “no”, and the answer to that question probably is “no” then you need to build High Availability into your environment’s design when you move to the cloud. If you don’t build your environment with highly available services, then you’ll be disappointed in your experience being hosted in the cloud.

The same applies for disaster recovery. If you don’t have a DR plan for your systems which are running within the cloud platform then when something does happen that it outside of your, and your cloud providers control, you won’t have a good experience. Your disaster recovery plan could be as simple as backing up databases and file servers to a storage account in another region of the cloud platform. Your disaster recovery plan could be as complicated as running with databases configured within Always On Availability Groups which replicas hosted in three regions of the cloud platform and your web tier being hosted in three different regions with a geographic load balancer configured on top of your web tier to route users to their closest geographical site, and avoiding the site which is down during a DR event.

The amount of complexity which is built into the configuration is completely up to the business as to how much or little high availability and disaster recovery they are willing to pay for, and how much down time they are willing to accept due to patching (for HA) and for a total site failure (for DR). We all want no downtime and no data loss, but these things come at a price and we need to understand what these prices are going to be before we start spinning up services in the cloud.


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