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July 30, 2020 | Brian Anderson

Demystifying the “Service” in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Your data, the lifeblood of your organization, is always at risk from cyber thieves, mother nature, and human error. According to an IDC report, The Digitization of the World, the global datasphere will grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025 (it was 33 zettabytes in 2018). Much of that data will be managed by businesses and is vital to operations. What steps are organizations taking to secure that data? An IT security policy and employee training are great ways to protect that data, but what about when mother nature throws you a curveball?

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a great solution to reduce that risk. Just like strong cybersecurity, disaster recovery is an investment in remediation, ensuring businesses don’t lose more data or time than they can absorb. While it might never be needed, it might also save the business from catastrophe. We know what DRaaS is (check out this guide if you want to catch up on Disaster Recovery and DRaaS), but many confuse the “service” with the technology that drives DRaaS. In this post, we’ll explain how the “service” part of DRaaS works.

Understanding the “service” in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Traditional disaster recovery solutions were hosted on a physical server at an on-premises data center or off-site at a partner data center facility. The components of a private DR environment include the data center or colocation facility, network connectivity, servers, software licenses, and IT staff. Typically, the customer is responsible for managing and maintaining the DR software and environment. If anything goes wrong or needs fixing, it’s up to the customer to fix it. A customer can also buy DR software and upload it to a public cloud server, saving on the cost of maintaining hardware and infrastructure. But the DR software and environment are still the responsibility of the customer.

DRaaS is a less labor-intensive alternative to traditional disaster recovery and backup. DRaaS is a cloud-based, subscription service managed by a DRaaS provider. As with all “as a service” cloud offerings, the customer pays a monthly or quarterly fee for use of the cloud-based DR software and infrastructure. Offerings vary. In some cases, the provider may own the entire process, infrastructure, and software. In other cases, the provider may provide access to the software and infrastructure, but the customer may be responsible for testing and failover. The possibilities are as varied as you can envision, so properly understanding who is responsible for what is very important.

There are numerous advantages to DRaaS. DRaaS potentially saves customers the cost of buying and maintaining hardware and space dedicated to disaster recovery and hiring DR experts to manage it. DRaaS providers have experts on staff to address the range of potential issues in DR and the cloud. Most firms can’t afford an in-house team of DR experts. In addition, DRaaS includes on-demand options so that customers can scale-up storage, memory, or compute power when needed.

Also read: How Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) Helps Solve DR Challenges

According to the Gartner Research Market Guide for Disaster Recovery as a Service, the DRaaS market consists of hundreds of providers, each with different technologies and methods for backing up systems, and varying capabilities to meet customer requirements for different workload types, geographical locations, support services, and recovery time objectives. But to be called DRaaS, the provider must have three basic components:

  • on-demand use of cloud storage, virtual servers, and DR software,
  • automated replication, recovery, and failover
  • guaranteed recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) spelled out in an SLA. The RTO and RPO are critical measures of a DR strategy. RPO is the point in time to which the system will be restored and how much data and transactions may be lost, while RTO measures how long the system will be down. The shorter the RTO, the faster the company can get back to business.

DRaaS provides a ready-to-use DR infrastructure and software. Either the customer or the provider may manage the environments via a central console or dashboard which lets them set and initiate replication and failover processes, monitor DR metrics, run tests, and handle other DR tasks. While customers are responsible for initiating failover in a disaster, most DRaaS solutions offer automated failover which is triggered by an outage or other event chosen by the customer.

A note on fully-managed DRaaS

Another category of DRaaS is fully-managed DRaaS. Managed DRaaS providers offer the same cloud infrastructure and DR software. But they also take care of the customer’s DRaaS environment, including managing the server image, replicating production data to the cloud, and creating and executing the customer’s run book or manual for replicating and restoring the system. A run book is a detailed inventory of a DR environment, including all of the procedures

Want to learn more about the technical side of DRaaS? Watch this video below.

Learn more about DRaaS in our Strategic Guide

DRaaS is an ideal solution for companies that want to move their disaster recovery operations offsite and into the cloud, protect their mountains of vital data, and focus their IT staff on revenue-generating projects. DRaaS allows companies to avoid the costs of DR infrastructure while retaining control over their DR processes. Managed DRaaS adds operational support with minimal effort by the customer. Want to learn more about Disaster Recovery as a Service or talk to an expert? Contact us today.

The Strategic Guide to Disaster Recovery and DRaaS | Read now...

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