Nowadays we often hear the term DRaaS, short for Disaster recovery as a service. What does this term mean? It is the simulation or creation of mimic of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide failover in case of a disaster, either man made or natural.
Typically DRaaS requirements are stipulated in the Service Level Agreements (SLAs), so that the hosting vendor provides failover to the client.
But before we discuss DRaaS, let us understand the importance of disaster in an IT setting.
All IT companies put in place a disaster recovery plan (DRP).
After all, a business must continue to work without interruption. In particular the mission critical functions must have stability.
Disaster can come in various avatars. It can be a storm tearing apart your power lines, or some telecommunication staff digging and damaging your underground communication lines.
In whichever mode a calamity strikes, the result can be disastrous to your company’s business.
Companies experience a disaster due to any one or a combination of the following causes.
- Mission critical application failure
- Network failure
- Natural disasters
- Network intrusion
- System failure
“Disaster recovery is an important part of our business process management”, says a CIO.
No wonder companies go to great lengths to firm up recovery strategies. They perform a business impact analysis as well as risk analysis to establish the recovery time objective.
Cloud computing offers extremely fast recovery times at a fraction of the cost of traditional disaster recovery.
With virtualization, the entire infrastructure including the server, OS, applications and data is condensed in a single software package or virtual server. This entire virtual server can be replicated or backed up to an offsite data center.
A compelling benefit of such a strategy is that the virtual server is not dependent on hardware and hence the entire bundle can be migrated from one data center to another easily.
This process radically reduces recovery time compared to traditional non-virtualized methods where servers must be loaded with the operating system and patched to the last pattern before the data is restored.
IT companies typically have two options to choose from as a disaster recovery solution – Cloud DR and DRaaS.
Which one is better?
This is not an easy answer by any standard. A company must choose either of the one after a thorough evaluation of both the solutions.
Cloud DR is within reach of any company.
“Whatever drawbacks a cloud may have, one thing is clear. It is extremely effective when used as a tool for a disaster recovery plan”, says an IT manager.
“We are now able to create a cloud based recovery site as a backup to the primary data center”
Before creating a suitable DR strategy, you must keep in mind the following.
Assess your data protection requirements
An evaluation is essential to come to a conclusion as to what kind of infrastructure and configuration is needed to facilitate cloud DR.
Companies keep the primary backups on-premise but they mimic them to cloud storage so that they can disable the data center in case of any natural disaster.
Select the appropriate cloud provider
You must remember that not all cloud providers are alike. Some of them offer only storage. That is why it is essential to select the vendor who has the capability to build the right disaster recovery site for your needs.
Moreover, costs must never be ignored. The manner in which the vendor bill’s you can have a decided impact on your finances. A good strategy is to use a reliable cost calculator tool.
Cloud backup can consume copious amount of bandwidth. A judicious approach will ensure that the bandwidth consumption will not exceed to the extent that other workloads suffer.
Several small and medium businesses are not too keen to put in place a disaster recovery plan. They feel such exercises are for those with deep pockets.
Many of them perform frequent backups and store data offsite. These measures are no doubt satisfactory, but sluggish by today’s standards.
Taking help of DRaaS vendors seem to be a sensible policy.
Yet, it is important that clients must weigh-in each vendor carefully. Some vendors may offer an apparently straightforward solution while others may offer a comprehensive solution tailored to your specific needs.
Whichever solution you seek, the following points must be kept in mind.
- The vendor’s capability to backup critical data
- Fast recovery with minimal user interface – the vendor must specify the time limit for hosting the recovery environment.
- Transparent and easily understandable billing modes
- Solution has numerous backup options
Moreover, the DR solution offered must make it easy to move from the backup to the live state.
Business continuity is not just about backing up data; it is also about fast recovery from a disaster.
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