Disaster recovery (DR) is a critical function, but because it’s so rarely invoked, it’s difficult to get it right. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offers a highly automated DR solution that reduces the risk of making mistakes during a crisis.
Reasons to Choose Disaster Recovery as a Service
In addition to automation, there are several other compelling reasons to opt for a DRaaS solution:
• Reduced complexity. Automation reduces the complexity of the procedures your team needs to execute to restore services. In addition, DRaaS reduces the complexity of building a DR environment, as you don’t need to create a secondary site that you maintain in parallel along with your primary production servers.
• Reduced cost. All the costs associated with the secondary site are eliminated, including the cost of the space, the cost of the hardware, and the cost of licenses for the software. Like most cloud services, DRaaS is offered on an affordable subscription basis.
• Complete DR protection. Because implementing DRaaS is less involved than implementing your own DR solution, it’s easier to achieve DR protection for all your systems, not just the critical ones. In addition, many DRaaS services are platform agnostic, so they can protect your systems no matter which hypervisor they use.
• Easier to test. One of the biggest causes of disaster recovery failures is that the recovery process is never tested until it’s invoked for real. This means problems aren’t found until it’s too late. Because DRaaS takes place in the cloud, completely apart from production systems, it’s easier to perform tests and validate that the recovery process works.
Selecting the Right Disaster Recovery as a Service Solution
There are many criteria you should consider when selecting your DRaaS provider. These include:
• Recovery objectives. RTOs—recovery time objectives—are usually easily met by DRaaS services. The services provide almost instant recovery through the use of bootable images. RPO—recovery point objectives—are more variable. You can only meet a tight RPO through doing more frequent backups.
• Flexible recovery options. Not every disaster requires bringing a duplicate data center online; sometimes you just need to restore a single file. Explore how DRaaS solutions can meet this need. You should look for a range of recovery options, supporting both on premises and cloud-based disaster recovery variations.
• Resumption of normal services. Any disaster recovery location is a temporary solution, intended to be used only until the main production site is back in operations. Know how the DRaaS service supports the transition back to your normal production process.
• Backup preservation. While DRaaS may replace your existing disaster recovery process, that doesn’t mean it’s a replacement for your backup process. Understand how many backups the DRaaS provider keeps available. You will likely need your own archiving process for long-term storage of backups; it’s most efficient if the DRaaS backups and your own backups leverage the same solution.