You’ve probably heard the term Disaster Recovery as a Service but have wondered how it differs from traditional DR solutions and why companies are increasingly turning to these cloud-based DR solutions to minimize downtime.
Let’s start with a little Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) 101. In short, DRaaS is the replication and hosting of physical and virtual servers to an off-site appliance or, more commonly, to the cloud. It can bring warm or hot data and computing environments online, without needing to restore the compute first, so that your business avoids downtime. It is an Information Technology (IT) solution for data protection and business continuity.
As a cloud-based solution, DRaaS is more affordable, scalable, and easier to implement. It’s a few of the reason why companies are turning to disaster recovery as a service solutions.
Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service is Gaining Popularity
According to a 2015 IDG White paper, “Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery Emerging as Top Priority”, a fourth of businesses have already deployed some form of cloud-based disaster recovery, while 36% plan to implement one within the next two years.
These results came from an IDG survey which polled 400 global IT executives in the early 2015.
There’s also data that supports this growing popularity. Here how DRaaS is trending on Google Trends:
The interest over time from “DRaaS” seems to have doubled since 2012. This data reflects how often a particular search-term is being searched on Google over the set period of time.
Though Google Trends indicate that “interest” may have doubled over the past 3-4 years, I wanted to check how many queries are there for DRaaS. So I went to Google Adwords, which gave me this data:
The above data is the global search volume on two keywords: “DraaS” and “Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service” over the past 24 months (that’s the limit for historical data).
If you look closely, the search volume for Oct. 2013 was about 1,500, while in Sept. 2015, the search volume was about 3,000. That’s a 100% increase over the past two years.
Finally, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global DRaaS market is estimated to grow from $1.42 Billion in 2015 to $11.92 Billion in 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 52.9% from 2015 to 2020.
These data begs this question: What’s causing DRaaS to gain so much popularity?
Reason 1: Every Company Needs Disaster Recovery
Traditionally DR has been sold as earthquake insurance and thought of something that only big companies need.
But that’s not reality. Hardware and software failures happen. Humans are prone to errors. And natural disasters happen. All of which can cause downtime, which, on average, can cost a small company $8,000 per hour or $600,000 for large enterprises, according to a 2013 study conducted by Aberdeen Group. And in today’s competitive landscape, can any business (regardless of size) afford downtime?
If we look at the data, the answer is no. According to Gartner, 43% of companies were immediately put out of businesses by a major loss of computer records, and another 51% permanently closed their doors within 2 years. Meaning, only 6% of companies can survive a major data loss.
Most businesses have an idea of how a disaster, whether natural or man-made, can do to their business. They know that they need some type of disaster recovery but they think it’s too expensive to implement. The complexity and IT resources need to deploy, manage and test deter companies from pursuing a disaster recovery solution.
It’s a huge reason why companies are turning to disaster recovery as a service solutions. Since they are cloud-based, they don’t require the heavy infrastructure investment for a second site, or extra IT resources to manage and maintain a second site. These advances in cloud technology brings us to reason #2.
Reason 2: Confidence in the Cloud is Growing
In 2008, less than 50% of companies have adopted cloud solutions. Today, 88% of enterprises are using public cloud in some way.
Before, people were worried about security, data ownership, and cloud outages. Today, the focus has shifted more towards accessibility, speed, compliance, and the location of data centers.
Businesses today are more comfortable with replicating their data to the cloud. They understand its usefulness and its ease of access. Also, the convenience of using the cloud was further validated as our workforce has become increasing mobile.
The comfort and confidence of the cloud has carried over to many departments within a company, including the function of disaster recovery within the IT department.
Reason 3: Cloud Brings Simplicity to Disaster Recovery
Building IT disaster recovery is very complex. Not only does it require the technical know-how, you also need the time and resource to maintain and test a redundant IT infrastructure just so you’re prepared for a disaster.
With a traditional DR solution, you need to start with a remote second site fully loaded with all the physical equipment and network connections. All data from your office or primary site needs to be continuously updated and replicated to this secondary site. You will need to constantly maintain this secondary site, as well as testing it regularly to see if everything is working as it should.
With DRaaS, you will need none of the above. The infrastructure, replication, backup, and maintenance are all managed by your DRaaS vendor. (although regular testing on your side is still best practice)
Further, with today’s virtualization platforms, you can easily bring your systems online when you need them. The cloud is there and is ready to fire up within minutes of disaster.
Some vendors even offer a self-service dashboard for you to easily failover to a virtualized environment in the cloud. With some training, even a non-technical person can operate the DRaaS console and can keep the company’s IT systems running during an outage.
Reason 4: Overwhelming Cost Benefits
If you choose a DRaaS solution, all the capital expenditures, personnel, and maintenance costs are non-existent. You will only be paying for a fraction of these costs on a monthly or annual basis, depending on the terms of the DRaaS vendor.
This flexible “as-a-Service” pricing model allows companies of all sizes to create a disaster recovery architecture that scales. In essence, you are only paying for what you use, and you will have no overhead to maintain.
Further, most DRaaS solutions allow you to take advantage of cloud storage. With company data growing at 60% annually, data storage costs can be cut significantly. To address this concern, some DRaaS vendors are even offer unlimited cloud storage.
Disaster recovery is an essential component to business continuity. Before, only organizations with deep pockets and resources could afford it. Today, businesses of all sizes can take advantage of DRaaS. It is the resource and cost efficient alternative to traditional disaster recovery.
Though DRaaS frees up many of your organization’s resources, there’s still one thing you still have to do regularly: continue testing the DRaaS solution.