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December 21, 2020 | Matt Pacheco

This Year in Disaster Recovery & DRaaS: Looking Back at Trends and Insights

2020 has been an interesting year for business continuity and disaster recovery. There was the covid-19 pandemic and struggle to provision masses of in-home workers. Then wildfires threatened many businesses in California, Colorado, and Oregon. Other regions faced hurricanes, floods, and other weather-related events due to climate change. And cyber-crime continued to be a rising threat to all IT organizations both large and smallwith ransomware being among the most common and potentially devastating attack, one that has forced companies to close their doors.   

That’s why resilience has become the watchword for 2020, and a top priority for CIOs everywhereWith the risk of disasters on the rise, IT resilience is critical to business survivalA resilient IT environment can not only survive a major disruption but can bounce back quickly from it. Employees can get back to work, business transactions can pick up where they left off, customers can communicate with service staff, and little to no data is lost. 

Business continuity and disaster recovery can help businesses achieve IT resilience. Below, we created a guide to the biggest trends & learnings we found in 2020.  

Disaster Recovery solutions differ

IT managers in 2020 spent time learning the differences in DR solutions.  

DR may be implemented in the cloud, in-house, or at a regional data center. In-house DR is more labor-intensive and costly than cloud DR, especially for a smaller business that lacks the budget to buy equipment, rent data center space, and pay salaries for DR experts. 

With cloud-based Disaster Recovery (or Disaster Recovery as a Service), the cloud provider owns and maintains the infrastructure. The DR software is deployed and maintained in the cloud—either by the customer or the cloud provider. DRaaS is cloud-based DR that is wholly owned and maintained by the provider for customers who pay a monthly subscription.  

One of the benefits of cloud-based DR is the resilience it can offer thanks to the redundancy built into cloud infrastructure—multiple power sources, network providers, servers, and so forth. Also, leading cloud providers maintain multiple data center locations, which ensures continued operations should one location go down. 

DRaaS is sometimes confused with Backup as a Service (BaaS). Like DRaaS, BaaS is owned and maintained by the provider, with customers paying a subscription fee for access. But unlike DRaaS, it protects only the data, not the applications.  

As the demand for fast-and-easy DR solutions has increased, so has the variety of DRaaS platforms and options.  For example, DRaaS is available for IBM I and AIX systems, IBM mainframes, as well as server-to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud recovery. DRaaS features may include the ability to do frequent testing, for instance, or access to DR consulting services, user-friendly tools such as drag-and-drop orchestrationor multi-cloud replication to allow the customer to replicate a production environment to two different recovery environments. Some. 

The most important difference between different DRaaS options—or between any DR solution is how quickly it can restore a system and how much data is saved or lost. These are measured by two metrics — recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). The RTO is the length of time from disaster to recovery, while RPO is the maximum amount of data that the business can afford to lose in a disaster.  

DR solutions typically provide tiered levels of recovery options so that customers can define which categories of data get priority for recovery. Tiering enables customers to save money by assigning less important data to a lower tier while ensuring the highest level of recovery to critical business data.  

Simplifying disaster recovery infrastructure with HCI

DRaaS is increasingly popular because it’s comparatively easy and low-cost to manage. But DRaaS does have one downside: The customer has little control over the infrastructure, configuration, or performance of the DRaaS environment. Fortunately, a new infrastructure model promises to make do-it-yourself DR a bit easier and cheaper to deploy and manage 

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is an alternative infrastructure model for organizations that want greater control over their DR environment but without the complexity and cost of a traditional in-house DR solution. HCI appliances come preconfigured with compute, storage, and networking capabilities, along with the appropriate software stackHCI products provide a simple building block for creating DR environments that in-house IT staff can deploy and manage on their own. Many HCI vendors provide HCI appliances tailored for DR, making it even easier to create an in-house or collocated DR infrastructure. The environment can be scaled up by adding more HCI units.  

Managed DRaaS and disaster recovery services

Customers have much a wide range of services available for implementing and managing their DR environments.  

Managed DRaaS is a category of DRaaS that includes services for planning and deployment, managing the server image, replicating production data to the cloud, and creating and executing the many detailed policies and procedures required by the customer’s DR environment. Managed DRaaS is especially popular with companies that lack the expertise or time to manage their own DR system. 

Disaster recovery management and consulting services are increasingly common. For example, TierPoint offers a wide range of services, from strategic DR planning and implementation to testing and management services. Testing is one of the most critical services, as it ensures there are no bugs or missing elements in your DR environment before a disaster happens.  

As the IT environments become more complex, the need for outside expertise will continue to grow. Fortunately, DRaaS and managed DRaaS providers can take on much of the burden of DR planning and management, and help ensure you’ll have a reliable, and rapid backup and recovery solution.  

Also read: Why You Should Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan 

More coming on Disaster Recovery and DRaaS in 2021

A managed service provider,like TierPoint, can help you develop your disaster recovery plan, test your plan, and help you meet your recovery goals. Learn more by contacting us today. 

Stay tuned for more disaster recovery and business continuity content to come in 2021 by reading the TierPoint blog 

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

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