DRaaS: AN SMB Gateway to the Cloud
Oct 02, 2015
Several high-profile disasters over the last decade have made businesses more aware of the importance of business continuity and disaster recovery planning for their data and applications. This week’s news about Hurricane Joaquin, which is poised to hit the East Coast of the U.S. in the coming days provides another timely reminder that business continuity is a business practice that cannot be ignored.
Disaster recovery is to business—especially the SMB space—as exercise is to working parents: there rarely seems time, energy, or budget to fit it into the fabric of daily life. But recent years have seen increases in business-impacting disasters of all types. Anything from wild weather to hackers and terrorism can threaten the data center—and the critical technology that it houses—at a moment’s notice, causing disruptions or complete outages of the systems that businesses rely on. As such, businesses must prepare for a far wider variety of emergency situations in order to effectively maintain or recover operations in the wake of such events.
Cloud-based backup solutions—such as self-service backup to an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Storage as a Service—can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional backup methods. Data is housed in a provider’s cloud. Because clouds are multi-tenanted, pay-for-consumption services, the cost to store backup data is typically less than to purchase dedicated space that the business owns or leases. But these self-service or storage-only backup options still pose challenges. Neither do-it-yourself options nor storage as a service are specifically designed to trigger backups; thus, IT technicians must intervene to provision and maintain the resources. Also, such services capture only data, but not the associated applications; and they typically do not include a pre-configured fail-over environment. As such, the time involved to recover data and resume business operations can be onerous, particularly when the disaster prevents re-opening of physical facilities.
The latest cloud-based option in disaster recovery is the as-a-Service model. With Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), the provider offers a complete solution: backing up not only data, but the applications that run them, as well as providing an environment in the cloud for the business to fail-over to when disaster strikes. While DRaaS in no way comprises a complete business continuity/disaster recovery (BCDR) solution, it can address many of the IT aspects of the plan. When coupled with measures to care for access issues, DRaaS provides a valuable and cost-effective option for businesses to consider.
Business have historically struggled with the need to allocate resources—time, staff, and budget—to disaster planning and recovery efforts. And yet, organizations—particularly SMBs—stand to lose everything if they refuse to plan and prepare for catastrophic events. Cloud computing makes it far easier and more cost effective, through the consumption-based pricing and fees levied only when a disaster occurs. DRaaS services also level the playing field for SMBs, offering them the fast, cost-effective, and secure types of disaster recovery solutions and environments that were previously only attainable for large enterprises.
For cloud service providers looking to reach out to new markets, DRaaS offers an excellent entry point to cloud computing for a wide variety of businesses. Organizations wary of cloud environments are often more willing to test them in emergency situations, when DRaaS offers a cost-effective option to get up and running quickly. And upon personally experiencing the cloud service, many choose to keep workloads in the cloud rather than failing back to physical environments that are more costly and more difficult to maintain.
Cloud service providers should seek to leverage DRaaS to help drive cloud adoption among their customers, particularly with SMBs. Frost & Sullivan research shows that companies of all sizes expect to adopt cloud computing for disaster recovery within the next two years. Providers would benefit by adding these services to their portfolios.
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