Disaster recovery as a service?

November 2017 Editor's Choice, Security Services & Risk Management

In the last few years, organisations have started replacing traditional disaster recovery (DR) services with disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), why?

Johan Scheepers
Johan Scheepers

There are a few benefits that DRaaS offers. Firstly, it assists organisations to reduce costs and relinquish the responsibility of their DR data centre and infrastructure to a service provider. They don’t need to ‘double’ their infrastructure costs in order to replicate a DR site for their data centre. There is no outlay for hardware or software. However, there are other indirect cost benefits such as no cooling, floor space, power costs etc.

Furthermore, DRaaS provides organisations with the flexibility of IT as a utility. For example, if you require more store/compute almost instantly, DRaaS enables this flexibility. With regards to Recovery Time Objective (the time required to restore data or a service after a disaster or disruption) and Recovery Point Objective (how much data am I willing to lose?), this is now determined by the SLA with the service provider, making the process far simpler for the business.

What are the key benefits of DRaaS?

The cost benefit is obvious as well as the fact that they no long require their own infrastructure along with the management responsibilities for the data centre. It must be noted that support staff are still required, but DRaaS takes a lot of the complexity out of DR by having a specialist take care of their DR infrastructure and SLA requirements.

What are some of the features that DRaaS has that traditional DR does not?

DRaaS features a utility model of cloud computing that has a significant impact on a business. It enables companies to scale their store/compute with ease and speed. If we have a look at an in-house data centre scenario, it is far more difficult to quickly increase or decrease store/compute. Servers need to be commissioned, routed through procurement etc. It can sometimes take months to install the server. DRaaS is essentially a ‘pay-as-you-use’ model which is far more economical, not to mention simpler.

You have highlighted the pros to DRaaS however, what are some of the pitfalls in switching to a DRaaS service?

Physical accessibility is the most apparent downside to DRaaS. Your DR resides in a remote data centre, which means a company won’t have access to it. If a particular component needs to be physically accessed, this needs to be routed through the service provide. However, it must be mentioned that this issue is the same for any type of cloud service where data centres are located all over the world.

It is also important to conduct due diligence when selecting a service provider as not all are equal. It is vital to ensure they are compliant with data regulations and have security built into the platform. It will serve a company well to establish the classification of the data centre and to read the ‘fine print’.

Do you predict an uptake in DRaaS in the coming year?

Adoption is taking place far more rapidly with smaller and mid-sized businesses. They are more agile and ready to move to a DRaaS model as their IT budgets are far more constrained than those of their larger counterparts and they realise the benefits very quickly.

On the flip side, we are seeing large organisations and groups consolidating their data centres which indicates they may continue to make use of their own DR infrastructure for some time or even indefinitely. In addition, larger organisations and certain verticals such as financial services are more heavily regulated and often have stringent requirements which compel them to retain their own DR sites rather than making use of the DRaaS model.

There are some organisations, however, that are and will consider the hybrid model whereby certain elements of their data for DR purposes will be stored in country and on premise, such as financial data. This is required by SARS. However, other data that is not

sensitive may make use of the DRaaS model such as production systems/data.

We will also see Applications as a Service (AaaS) driving the uptake of DRaaS. Companies that offer AaaS will naturally have to offer DRaaS as part of their AaaS offering. In general, we will see an uptake in 2018 of DRaaS.

For more information contact Commvault, www.commvault.com



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