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Disaster recovery moves to the cloud

Cloud solutions advance

Accenture has historically performed disaster recovery of its information systems from a collocation facility. This model, however, is resource intense and wasteful. Even with its high efficiency, Accenture felt it could do better.

The advance of disaster recovery solutions led Accenture’s internal IT organization to consider cloud-based disaster recovery approaches to take advantage of the benefits of the public cloud. Such an approach would also be in line with Accenture’s “cloud-first” strategy.

Given these conditions, the Disaster Recovery team within Accenture’s internal IT organization evaluated options for a new disaster recovery solution. They ultimately chose Microsoft Azure Site Recovery within the Microsoft Azure Operations Management Suite as the solution best suited for Accenture. It was enterprise ready, offered simplicity and offered lower costs.

How we migrated to Azure

The Disaster Recovery team created two separate subscriptions within Azure with flexibility and ease in mind by setting up two network zones (VLANs):

  • The first: An isolated testing environment – Enabling testing to be performed at any time—from regularly scheduled exercises to at-will testing—without affecting production.

  • The second: A production-like, preconfigured network zone – Enabling Accenture to recover to and quickly integrate in the event of a real disaster.

The Disaster Recovery team proceeded to install Azure Site Recovery, test the solution and then deploy it. Following solution deployment, the team migrated the scope of applications one by one through a wave-by-wave plan and timeline. The team would move an application onto the new Azure solution, recover it, and turn it over to the specific stakeholder team for functional testing. Once successfully tested and signed off, the application would be formally cut over to the new solution.

The migration to Azure was completed in eight months. The Disaster Recovery team finds that Azure Site Recovery simplifies management and operations. The team has a single-pane-of-glass view and unified experience for the entire solution. In addition, team members can use mobile devices to check status, monitor and manage operations of disaster recovery from anywhere.

Automation is built into the product, with automation now possible for such tasks as enabling protection, failing over applications and performing solution infrastructure build. This automation reduces a significant number of tasks for technical staff, enables them to roll out new applications faster and lets them focus on core competencies instead of on maintenance.

Post-migration results

Accenture’s migration of disaster recovery operations to Microsoft Azure delivered the following results:

  • Most notably, the migration reduced infrastructure cost by 53%.

  • Manageability improved through reduced overall complexity of the solution.

  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) improved threefold.

  • 99.9% availability for the Azure infrastructure gives internal IT peace of mind.

Azure Site Recovery has greatly simplified the deployment and enablement of disaster recovery. The disaster recovery solution also greatly reduces the amount of infrastructure required, and can be deployed more easily with as little interruption as possible. Built-in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capabilities enable effortless automation and contribute to reduced solution complexity, better service and less time required by personnel.

The tremendous return on investment Accenture experienced with Azure Site Recovery gave internal IT a compelling business case to advance further and expand. For example:

  • Accenture is moving ahead with significantly multiplying the number of servers to protect.

  • It is also pushing disaster recovery capabilities to new geographies, using other aspects of Azure Site Recovery to expand disaster recovery-related capabilities, and enabling self-service as Accenture expands.

  • Separately, Azure Site Recovery is being used by Accenture’s cloud program to migrate on-premise servers into the cloud at significantly reduced costs.

The road map is to transition the Disaster Recovery team away from white-glove service to more of an engineering service model. Other possibilities are also being explored, including the use of Azure Backup and the potential for other groups within Accenture to use Azure Site Recovery.

"Shutting down an existing data center, utilizing the cloud and enabling RPA are three wins that I am excited about in our future capability in this area with Azure."


Managing Director of Accenture Internal IT Governance and Enablement