Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) provides data replication, hosting, and recovery services from the cloud in the event of a disaster, power outage, ransomware attack, or other business disruption.
DRaaS backs up data, applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud, and providers often have geographically dispersed data center footprints. In the event of a disaster, the business will fail over to the DRaaS provider’s data center in a different region.
Unlike traditional disaster recovery methods that require businesses to operate an off-site DR facility, DRaaS shifts this burden to service providers, thereby expanding the market beyond large enterprises that can afford such capital-intensive deployments.
The DRaaS market is an expanding, complex one, with hundreds of providers offering a wide variety of different approaches that replicate everything from data and virtual machines (VMs) to on-premises servers and hosts.
Ransomware, DDoS attacks, natural disasters drive DRaaS adoption
High-profile disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, the California wildfires, and the Texas power grid outage highlight the need for rescue services located far enough from an organization’s main data center that a major disaster would not affect both locations.
In addition, recent high-profile ransomware attacks, such as Colony Pipeline and City of Atlantaand DDoS attacks like these Russia attacked Ukraine points to the need to have DR plans before the invasion that cover more than just natural disasters.
The need for reliable failover is exacerbated by the fact that the cost of an outage increases every year. A 2020 survey by Uptime Institute It found that data center outages not only occurred “annoyingly often” (one-third of respondents admitted to having had a “major outage” in the past 12 months), but one in six respondents recently reported that an outage cost them more than $1 million.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) paints an even sharper picture of what a disaster can cost a business. FEMA reports that 43% of organizations affected by a natural disaster never reopenanother 29% of organizations close within two years.
COVID-19 has also driven the adoption of DRaaS. With many companies reducing their IT staff during the pandemic, businesses have had to rethink their DR plans. DRaaS provides a shortcut to personnel issues, as well as a way to shift DR from a CAPEX to an OPEX spend.
Finally, as data volumes swell and businesses move many of their critical tasks online, traditional 3-2-1 backup best practice is no longer sufficient. The traditional approach requires three copies of data: operating data, an onsite copy, and an offsite copy. Typically, onsite copy is done daily or even continuously, but offsite copy is only updated weekly or monthly.
In the past, weekly or monthly backups were sufficient, but today a weekly or monthly data loss is unacceptable. Moving backup and disaster recovery to third-party providers in the cloud not only reduces costs, but also enables continuous data backups in an off-site location.
How DRaaS works: RPOs and RTOs
DRaaS replicates an organization’s physical servers, virtual machines, and/or data to the provider’s data center. In the event of a disaster, an organization can quickly fail over the service provider’s infrastructure with a short downtime.
Two key concepts in all DR services are Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). RPO measures the amount of data a business can lose before it is adversely affected during a disaster. RTO measures how much time elapses between disaster strikes until the DR service activates normal operations.
DRaaS is designed to provide a short RPO; this means that data will be restored as close as possible to its previous state at the time of the disaster. Unlike on-premises backups, which can reasonably restore data and servers without downtime, cloud-based DRaaS usually has an RTO of several hours.
DRaaS services start with replication. When an application is protected by DRaaS, the provider takes stateful snapshots at intervals determined by RPO requirements. After snapshots are taken, they are replicated and stored in the DRaaS provider’s data center.
When a disaster occurs, the failover process is initiated. End-user requests for applications and data are redirected from the primary datacenter to the DRaaS provider’s datacenter, where replicated snapshots serve up the latest application and data samples. Many DRaaS providers offer automatic snapshotting when applications are running in failover mode, which simplifies the failback process after disaster abates.
When the primary data center is back online, the failback process moves end users back to the primary data center.
Three options for DRaaS solutions
There are three basic models of DRaaS: managed, powered, and DIY.
With Managed DRaaS, an organization outsources the entire DR process to the service provider. The DRaaS provider takes the burden of protecting infrastructure, cloud, on-premises servers, and hybrid systems. The provider also handles DR testing, verification, operations, maintenance and management, and in the event of a disaster, the service provider’s staff manage the failover process. DRaaS vendors offer SLAs that cover failover targets, including RPOs and RTOs.
With powered DRaaS, businesses gain greater control over the DR process by handling integration, testing and more. For businesses with home-built, highly specialized and/or highly customized applications, assisted DRaaS provides a happy environment where the service provider steps in to assist only when needed.
The third option is DIY. The DIY model provides the benefits of offsite replication and cloud hosting for organizations with large IT staff, but the organization is responsible for managing integration, testing, validation, and failover in the event of a disaster.
How did DRaaS providers enter the market?
The DRaaS market is a crowded and complex one, with hundreds of vendors offering a variety of different capabilities, services, and service levels. For most providers, DRaaS is not their primary source of revenue, so their other offerings such as hosting, IaaS, and cloud migration often determine which DRaaS offering is best suited for any given organization.
Although there are hundreds of DRaaS providers, the vast majority have entered the market in one of three ways. First, many traditional backup and DR providers have evolved to provide DRaaS services as well. These providers often have decades of backup and DR experience and are comfortable working with hybrid infrastructures. Examples of traditional DR providers adding DRaaS include IBM, Recovery Point, and Sungard Availability Services.
The second route to DRaaS is colocation/hosting services. As more and more workloads become virtual, vendors realize that DRaaS is a natural complement to things like hosting, cloud migration, and IaaS. Among the sellers entering the market this way, there are Advertising and TierPoint.
The third most common route to the DRaaS market is hyperscale cloud services. With their massive global cloud infrastructures, these providers are best suited for businesses that rely mostly, if not entirely, on cloud-native applications and infrastructure. Vendors in this market segment include Microsoft Azure on AWS and VMware.
Who are the best DRaaS providers?
IBM – IBM’s Resilience DRaaS promises business continuity within minutes after downtime. The service includes health monitoring and continuous replication of applications, infrastructure, data and cloud systems.
advert – idand Secure DRaaS provides idd data centers with a number of options for replicating both physical and cloud resources for failover. iland DRaaS is integrated with Veeam to replicate Veeam on-premises DR to ilad’s cloud, and with Zerto to deliver customized runbook functionality, optimized RPOs, and near-zero RTOs.
Microsoft – Azure Site Recovery is a cloud-native DRaaS solution for applications running on Azure VMs. Users set up Azure Site Recovery by replicating an Azure VM directly from the Azure portals to a different Azure region.
Recovery Point – Recovery Point provides DRaaS for complex, heterogeneous environments that can include everything from IBM mainframes to x86 servers and hybrid cloud environments.
Sungard Availability Services – Sungard’s DRaaS is a fully managed service that supports complex, hybrid environments. Sungard takes care of everything from data protection to testing and execution of outage recovery.
TierPoints – TierPoint offers a number of DRaaS options that include server-to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud recovery. TierPoint also offers a managed version of Azure Site Recovery, DR for IBM mainframe environments and protection for hybrid environments.
virtual machine software – VMware’s Site Recovery DRaaS protects workloads both on-premises and on the VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware Site Recovery provides replication, orchestration, and recovery plan automation.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.