How to Compare Failover Targets for DRaaS
DRaaS Target Options
As the modern business landscape moves more and more to cloud, it’s a key time to consider whether cloud is also a good fit for your IT disaster recovery (IT-DR) plan as well. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is essentially cloud-based DR, able to run in any type of cloud architecture or datacenter infrastructure.
On Premises – your own datacenter on your own gear
Hosted Infrastructure – multi-tenant or private environment
Cloud – AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, etc.
Weighing Your Business Factors
When considering where to target your DR plan, InterVision has seen five primary drivers that dictate where companies ultimately place their DR:
- Broader Cloud Strategy For businesses that are going to cloud anyway due to long-term strategy, but haven’t yet or are slowly in the process of making this move, InterVision has seen many companies gain value from a DR environment in the cloud where IT teams can get their feet wet before moving critical workloads into a cloud production environment. Having an IT team with little cloud experience play around with copies of your data in a DR environment vs. data in use in a production environment is a lower risk. If this is your scenario, you probably already know what cloud your business wants, or what your business wants to do in the cloud. This cloud environment will be your failover target; you then figure out a low-cost option in that target for your team to learn the ropes.
- Mixture of physical and virtualized IT systems It’s common to have legacy physical systems that are critical to business operations. However, these older applications tend to hinder the rest of the business from moving fast into the future. Sometimes these legacy applications can’t be controlled or retired. For example, airlines must first check the no-fly list before taking off, a federal application that is separate from the airline’s internal systems. Don’t let a scenario like this hold you back from success. With a hosted infrastructure environment, you can provision a hybrid setup for failover operations in the cloud, even if you have a few or more applications still running on-premise. A hosted DR target tends to have the most flexibility in levels of features and capabilities to protect assets. Plus, a hybrid environment for DR usually can meet pricing on par with the cost of cloud.
- Preferred Service Level and Model Customers have long dictated the sway of the market. Now, there’s a demand for personalized, fast service in an always-on model. Think about e-commerce, streaming and ride sharing apps. All have upended their relative industries and emphasize a continuous level of service. For this reason, companies are rethinking their approach to technology in order to better meet their customers’ desires. If handling DR in-house isn’t a core goal of your business, we’ve found that offloading this responsibility in full to a trusted third party gives an IT team the ability to drive the business forward. A third-party vendor should be able to cater to your needs in any failover target and handle all aspects of design, implementation, testing and maintenance. The question then becomes what level of recovery speed you need and the cost of achieving it.
- Cost Components Cost is always a factor in any business decision. If your business is unable to dedicate large sums to DR for the short-term and this is the most important decision criteria, it’s key to think about where you eventually want to go before simply selecting the cheapest option out there. Maybe you won’t be able to provision the best-of solution for DR right now, but you could find a solution for a reasonable price that’s adjacent to where you want to go and that would enable a smooth transition down the road. We’ve found that cloud tends to offer the most options for a tight budget, with the ability to move workloads easily as needed, but the best fit will ultimately depend upon your environment.
- Failover and Failback Capabilities There’s no point in sending your critical data to a DR environment during an emergency if you’ll never be able to get it back. A disaster event will never be fully resolved until workloads are back in their normal location again. If your business depends upon having normalcy again quickly, don’t just consider the path your data will take during a disaster; consider how and when you’ll send that data back to normal production. Some cloud environments, such as AWS, don’t allow failback easily, so a managed service provider will be key. If having your data back in a timely fashion is important following a disaster, a hosted infrastructure might be a good option to consider in addition to a specific cloud target.
Strategic service provider (SSP)
A strategic service provider (SSP) can assist your business in selecting the right failover target for your IT-DR plan. Sometimes organizations use DRaaS targeted to the cloud as a first step toward a larger cloud migration, demonstrating an early win for stakeholders for greater buy-in. Read our blog post, “Considering DRaaS as a First Step for AWS Cloud Migration,” for more information.
DRaaS Starts with Strategy
What you care about most will ultimately point you in the direction you need to go for DR. Start with your goals first. Consider whether you want to reduce total IT costs, improve confidence in recoverability, gain flexibility in both full and partial failover capabilities, get out of the hardware business, or gain coverage across multiple datacenters. Knowing these goals will help you with challenges ahead and navigate the waters to success.
“IT resiliency / business continuity is a must in today’s environment. The baseline assumption should be that IT components (i.e. servers, operating systems, networks, etc.) will fail at some point. And that the business functions that those systems support should continue to be supported and maintained.”
– Allan Leinwand: Chief Technology Officer, ServiceNow
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