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3 things to consider before buying into Disaster Recovery as a Service

David Geer | July 2, 2013
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) backs up the whole environment, not just the data.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) backs up the whole environment, not just the data.

"Most of the providers I spoke with also offer a cloud-based environment to spin up the applications and data to when you declare a disaster," says Karyn Price, Industry Analyst, Cloud Computing Services, Frost & Sullivan. This enables enterprises to keep applications available.

Vendors offer DRaaS to increase their market share and revenues. Enterprises, especially small businesses are interested in the inexpensive yet comprehensive DR solution DRaaS offers. There are cautionary notes and considerations too that demand the smart businesss attention before and after buying into DRaaS.

DRaaS market drivers, vendors and differentiation
DRaaS is a wise move for cloud vendors hungry for a bigger slice of the infrastructure market.

"DRaaS is the first cloud service to offer value for an entire production infrastructure, all the servers and all the storage," says John P. Morency, Research Vice President, Gartner. This opens up more of the market, providing much higher revenues for vendors.

DRaaS creates new revenue streams and opportunities for vendors, too.

"They want to bring comprehensive recovery to a wider variety of business customers," Price says. Where only an enterprise could afford a full-blown BC/DR solution before, now the cloud offers a more affordable option for BC/DR to the small business.

Vendors leveraging DRaaS include Verizon TerreMark, Microsoft and Symantec (a joint offering), IBM, Sungard and NTT Data, Earthlink, Windstream, Bluelock, Virtustream, Verastream, EVault, and a trove of smaller contenders seeking to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, according to Price and Morency.

"While most of the DRaaS vendors are relatively similar in their cost structures and recovery time objectives, the recovery point objective is a differentiator between vendor offerings," says Price. Whereas Dell and Virtustream each report RPOs of 5 minutes, according to Frosts Karyn Price, Windstream reports RPOs of 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the DRaaS service the customer chooses.

DRaaS: No drab solution
With so much to offer, DRaaS has a bright future in the BC/DR realm. Companies with no tolerance for downtime, those looking to enter the cloud for the first time, those seeking a complete DR solution and those that have infrastructure in severe weather risk locations are interested in DRaaS. DRaaS is particularly interesting to enterprises with minimal tolerance for downtime.

"Most of the DRaaS vendors I speak with offer recovery times of four hours or fewer," says Price.

DRaaS is an option for enterprises that want to test the cloud for the first time.

"If you are in the middle of a disaster and suddenly you have no infrastructure to restore to, would you rather have a cloud-based solution that maybe you would have been wary of as your primary option or would you rather have nothing?" asks Price.


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