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For IT businesses disaster recovery is high priority. However the present IT environment and increased deployment of cloud has vastly complicated the management of cloud based disaster recovery. Thankfully, cloud technologies have now become sufficiently advanced to deliver disaster recovery as a service, or DRaaS in short.

DRaaS is proving to be an inclusive solution for companies of all types so much so that its adoption is growing at a breakneck speed. A recent report says DRaaS market presently pegged at ~ USD 2.1 billion by end of 2017 is expected to grow to a staggering USD 12.54 billion by 2022. The survey goes on to say that the backup and recovery service will have the largest market share in the DRaaS segment. This is not unexpected because backup and recovery plays a key role in IT business, and in this domain DRaaS offers clients cost-effective, reliable and scalable solutions to entrepreneurs ensuring business continuity.

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Yes, we all are hearing that cloud based DR solutions offer near-instant recovery. But is it as easy as that?

The answer is no, because for providers it is a challenge to offer bespoke solutions to clients. For designing an optimal solution, vendors must understand their clients’ business first. Providers must get to know how IT impacts their clients’ business operations.

Here are some key questions for which answers are needed.

  • How much impact do you expect data loss to have on your business?
  • What financial loss do you foresee if your system were to go down say for an hour, a day or a week?
  • How do you compute your current Recovery Point Objective (RPO) /Recovery Time Objective (RTO) goals? Are you able to fulfill it?

At this juncture it must be stated that RPO and RTO are two of the most critical parameters of any disaster recovery strategy. The key to any disaster recovery plan involves bringing IT systems back to normal and restoring them according to the service level agreements (SLAs).

To get things clear, let us try to understand these terminologies better.

RPO – This represents the duration of time that might elapse during a disruption before the quantity of data lost during the period exceeds the business continuity plans allowable threshold.

RTO - This denotes the interval of time and a service level within which the business process must be restored post disaster so that unacceptable consequences do not occur. RTO determines how fast a business can resume its operations by spinning up compute resources and making the data live again. In other words, RPO relates to the amount of data loss that must be reentered to keep the business going, and RTO denotes the time than can pass before disruption really comes into effect.

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Considering the criticality of IT business operations, costs must never come in the way of disaster recovery.

Unfortunately, the high costs involved for putting into effect a solid disaster recovery plan pressurizes companies to stick with traditional backup and restore methods. We are now witnessing a scenario where the cost per GB of cloud storage is continuing to go down whereas the costs of devices are remaining constant. This is the time when companies must examine the costs of storing data in the cloud for backups.

It is good news that reevaluation of cost structure and the need to make a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) are making the shift to cloud based DR a compelling option. The days are gone when there were apprehensions of moving applications to cloud.

Today, the cloud has the reliability, security and scalability to move incongruent workloads to a single platform and deliver greater efficiency.

The advantages are several, and the key ones are:

  • Automatic data protection without the need for costly onsite-hardware and other overhead expenses
  • Change over to OPEX (operating expense) from CAPEX (capital expenditure) models. When companies pay only for what they use the total cost of ownership (TCO) improves
  • As the data is stored in cloud it is convenient for data mining and adhering to regulatory compliances.
  • No hardware, software or deployment hassles. The upshot - lower TCO or total cost of ownership.

It is heartening to note that cloud based compute and storage services are revolutionizing the IT sector more than ever before. Consumers are now able to experience features like on demand availability, pay-as-you use billing and practically limitless scalability at very reasonable pricing. DRaaS has proved to be especially useful to SMEs that lack the necessary skills to provision, configure and test an effective DR plan.

Yes, it is true that customers must trust the vendor to implement the plan effectively in the event of a disaster, therefore the right approach is get appropriate answers to certain key questions before hiring the DRaaS provider.

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