In these competitive economic times, IT organizations are continually asked to provide an ever-increasing level of services to their respective business units while at the same time reducing expenditures. Based on my personal experience, a Disaster Recover as a Service (DRaaS) approach can help IT organizations increase the availability of business processes while substantially reducing the annual cost and operational complexity of supporting a DR solution.
For example, one provider successfully reduced DR costs for its customer by over $235,000 per month through the use of a DRaaS option. This cost reduction was the result of validating the actual RTO/RPO requirements for the customer and moving from a traditional “Hot” DR solution supporting a 4-hour RTO/RPO to a “Warm” DRaaS solution supporting a 48-hour hour RTO/RPO.
In order to appropriately evaluate the viability of DRaaS, service providers should consider the following questions:
- What is the required RTO/RPO for your customer’s business processes?
- Does the customer’s RTO/RPO matrix require “Hot” or “Warm” DR support?
- Does the customer’s environment currently support a Dev/Test , QA or PERF environment? Does the customer desire to utilize the DR instance as a live Dev/Test environment?
- What type of virtualization technologies and operating systems are deployed by the customer? Is it a VMWare/Hyper-V/Xen environment or is it a zSystem/iSystem/AIX LPAR or a Solaris LDom environment? With respect to operating systems, is it a standard Windows Server, Linux, or Unix environment? Proprietary operating systems such as zVM, Solaris and AIX tend to be more expensive to support in a DRaaS environment.
- Does the customer support a heterogeneous storage environment? Are they front-ending the storage with a solution like EMC’s RecoverPoint or VPLEX Metro/Geo and treating the different vendor arrays as virtual arrays?
- To what extent does the customer desire to automate the DR failover? Are they a candidate for VMWare’s Site Recovery Manager (“SRM”)?
- What level of lifecycle management support does the customer require?
- How does the customer desire to integrate the management and provisioning of the DR instance into their current ITSM processes?
- Does the customer currently support vCloud Director and vCloud Connector? Do they support Virtual Tape Libraries (VTLs) or live tape solutions?
- Does the customer currently maintain a traditional DR solution? Are their existing business continuity and disaster recovery plans up to date and supported by current runbooks?
The answers to these questions will provide a quick analysis of how viable a DRaaS approach will be for your customers. For all businesses, disaster recovery is becoming a strategic imperative in several ways. The reasons for the elevation of DRaaS as a strategic necessity include the evolving regulatory landscape and the fact that many critical business processes have been converted to automated digital processes.
For the cloud service provider, this inquiry becomes a golden opportunity to help customers realize the cost and efficiency benefits of DRaaS. It also provides a significant opportunity to demonstrate relevance to your customers.
Can you think of other questions to consider before determining if DRaaS is a good fit for cloud service customers? If so, please share them.