Why HA is no longer enough to meet today’s data governance mandates

How to ensure data governance mandates and regulatory compliance, in an age when it feels near impossible to do so

1Oct

Historically, the focus on high availability (HA) revolved primarily around performance. HA presented a number of failover and redundancy options to ensure business continuity in the event of workload spikes, planned maintenance, and unplanned downtime.

Today, HA approaches have been displaced by what is now being referred to as smart availability’s intelligent workload routine automation, in which data and its processing are continuously pointed to the proper place at the right time. Smart availability somewhat stems from the distributed realities of the modern data landscape, in which information assets are distributed on premises, in the cloud, and at the cloud’s edge.

Subsequently, regulatory compliance has arisen as much a driver for smart availability as has performance. With mounting regulations and penalties (such as those for the EU's GDPR), errors about where workloads are routed will likely have grim legal and financial consequences - especially for data in the cloud.

Various countries and industries now have stringent regulations about data's location which directly affect cloud deployments. Organizations must know how and where such data are permitted in the cloud before shifting it there for availability and performance issues.

Generating policies in conformity with these regulations is essential to leveraging smart availability to guarantee compliance, and effectively transforms data governance into smart data governance.


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The opaque cloud

Cloud deployments have various opaque areas in relation to routing workloads for availability. These relate to the type of cloud involved (private, public, or hybrid), the redundancy approach used, and the nature of the data. As two examples, the GDPR and California's new data privacy law have a number of regulations for personal data, a broad term for "any information related to an identified or identifiable natural person." Therefore, organizations must be extremely careful about migrating this type of data, despite the potential performance gains of doing so. For example, cloud bursting is beneficial for performance optimization during sudden peaks in network activity, which are common for online transaction processing in many industries, such as retail, finance or manufacturing. Migrating these workloads from local to public platforms may balance network activity, but can jeopardize regulations compliance in the process.

Organizations must undertake similar safeguards when planning for disaster recovery (DR), one of the top benefits of smart availability. Downtime may be minimized by implementing automatic failovers into the cloud, but can also compromise regulations compliance. Cloud compliance issues not only involve where data is stored, but also where (and how) it is processed. GDPR, for example, distinguishes data processors from data controllers. The latter are organizations using data, but the former can involve any assortment of software as a service (SaaS) or service oriented architecture (SOA) options that must obey GDPR’s personal data regulations. Organizations must assess these measures when cloud brokering among various providers—especially for temporary pricing specials. Other regulations such as the payment card industry data security standard have stringent stipulations about encrypting data (especially for data in transit) which may apply to workloads freely moved to and from the cloud. Those in the e-commerce or retail spaces need to contemplate the complexities of server-side or client-side encryption, especially when replicating data between clouds.


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Let's be smart

Smart availability provides the ideal means by which to achieve regulatory compliance while dynamically migrating workloads between environments for all of the previous scenarios. 

The core of this methodology is the governance policies intended specifically to meet compliance standards. Although smart availability doesn't decide sensitive information or dictate where it can be routed, it offers portability freedom across settings (including operation systems, physical and virtual infrastructure) that pushes organizations to identify these factors due to its flexibility. This real-time, on-demand movement of resources is the catalyst to evaluate workloads through a governance lens, update policies as needed, and leverage them to predetermine the optimal routing of data and their processing for availability. Smart availability is the means of implementing smart data governance, it's a conduit between performance and regulatory compliance that greatly increases competitive advantage.

Smart availability equals intelligent governance

Once those policies are in place, the smart availability methodology optimizes cloud deployments while ensuring regulatory adherence. Its intelligent algorithms continuously monitor server performance to automatically detect surges, either issuing alerts to organizations or signaling the necessity of transfer of workloads to alternative hosts. By already having agreed upon policies conforming to governance practices, judicious organizations can securely move data to the cloud without violating regulations. Consequently, cloud bursting measures can regularly be deployed to minimize network strain during spikes for OLTP (or any other reason) without expensive penalties. Organizations also have the benefit of automatic failovers to the cloud to ensure business continuity in the event of malicious interference, natural disaster, or common failure. This option virtually eliminates downtime, enabling IT to perform virtually invisible maintenance on even the most mission-critical infrastructure once data is properly re-routed offsite.

One of the most beneficial smart availability advantages is the capability to span clouds, both among providers and all the variations of clouds available. Though well-sourced governance policies are critical to enjoying the pricing advantages of cloud brokering, smart availability's ability to start and stop workloads at the instance level while migrating data between settings is just as valuable. The data processing issue is a little more complicated but is assisted by smart availability’s flexibility. Once organizations have researched the various service level agreements (SLAs) of public cloud providers - as well as policies for other types of data processing, including software companies' - they can leverage these platforms in accordance with regulations, transferring their resources where permitted. The majority of encryption challenges are solved with client-side encryption whereby organizations encrypt data before replicating them to the cloud, retaining the sole keys to them. Smart availability measures transport this data to the cloud and back as required.

Adherence

The mounting presence of regulatory mandates isn't likely to soon subside. Compliance standards are just as important as performance issues when making workloads available across diverse settings. Smart availability's support of versatile storage and processing environments, in conjunction with its low-latency portability, make it a natural extension of smart data governance implementations. These techniques ensure data is moved correctly - the first time - to ensure data governance mandates and regulatory compliance in an age when it feels near impossible to do so.   

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