DRaaS Opens The Door To Cloud Adoption

Co-founder and VP/GM of Zerto, responsible for leading the company’s corporate direction and vision.

While many enterprise-sized businesses have adopted the cloud in some form or fashion, other small- to medium-sized organizations have yet to make the leap. They understand the economic justifications for moving to the cloud, like trading capex for opex expenses. But many of these organizations lack the resources and skill sets needed to navigate this migration.

Instead, they’re dipping their toe into the cloud via cloud-based services like disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), which provides a means to failover and recover entire applications or sites using a secure, managed cloud as a target site.

Companies can build and maintain their own on-premises secondary site. But that approach can be cost-intensive, forcing them to use part of their funding to build out an entire data center, hire people to manage it and pay to keep it cool. Alternatively, they can offset financial responsibility to a cloud service provider, which allows them to pay for only as much computing power or storage as they need.

Building a data center to host disaster recovery (DR) applications is like buying a car to go on a road trip once a year. Companies can offset the costs with a hybrid cloud mix of public and private cloud environments, but they still need help protecting their data.

An organization taking DR to the cloud is a good start. However, few will run full production in the cloud if they’ve never done it before. And developing a hybrid cloud solely to run DR can be expensive.

Cost arguments aside, it’s the expertise issue driving organizations to adopt DRaaS. Ransomware attacks continue to cripple organizations around the world. According to IDC, more than one-third of organizations in the world have been targeted by a ransomware attack.

Many organizations are saying they’re not comfortable with taking sole responsibility for protecting their data, saying they lack the skill set, resources and time to adequately defend against ransomware attacks. According to IDC, more than 40% of companies surveyed in a recent study reported they lacked IT knowledge and skills to manage DR.

As a result, the DRaaS market has been growing 40% year over year as more organizations seek to reduce capex costs and protect against ransomware or other outages caused by natural, man-made disruptions.

DRaaS provides a turnkey solution for cloud data protection that takes over much of the heavy work and provides the expertise needed to run and protect data and applications in the cloud. Organizations that opt for DRaaS over developing their own cloud to run DR don’t have to worry about providing maintenance and support, developing network and firewall infrastructures, buying storage and predicting capacity and scheduling downtime to conduct tests.

DRaaS providers help companies offset DR to the cloud by taking over all the primary work. Most DR organizations will provide services exclusively over software, which saves money for physical servers and storage. They offer data centers close to the customer’s operations for faster performance. And they commit to service level agreements (SLAs) that determine recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) standards.

Most DRaaS services come in two different offerings: self-service and fully managed. Self-service DRaaS is a prepackaged offering with a third-party site for replication and full responsibility for the client’s data and applications. The approach is ideal for companies moving to a pay-as-you-go model to reduce their data center footprint but still retain some level of control.

A service provider usually offers a fully managed DRaaS with a public or private cloud. Their services are backed by strict SLAs maintained by professionals with deep DR backgrounds. All of the cloud DR design, installation and maintenance falls on the shoulders of the provider. This approach is usually better suited for companies lacking technical personnel but requiring high security requirements.

There are multiple DRaaS providers on the market. When evaluating them, organizations should look for a solution that:

Offers a non-disruptive solution, so operations are not halted during setup and ongoing testing.

Provides fast near-synchronous replication and is hardware and software agnostic.

Allows workloads to move to the cloud with the least number of barriers.

Consists of a software-only solution that can scale to the client’s needs.

Ensures a clear cost advantage over developing an on-site private cloud.

Companies and individuals have been operating in the cloud for years without really thinking about it—whether it’s streaming personal content or office applications. Most of these experiences are taken for granted. But when it comes to protecting data and applications against ransomware and other threats, that’s when organizations will be forced to understand the nuts and bolts of their DRaaS services. And that experience may or may not make them more likely to embrace the cloud further.


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