Companies cannot survive if they lose access with their IT systems and the critical data and applications they contain. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is emerging as a key answer for the hard-pressed CIO, says Trent Odgers, Enterprise Account Manager from Veeam Software South Africa.
“Despite the fact that commerce depends utterly on applications and data, a Veeam study  found that 84 percent of CIOs globally cannot deliver the uptime that their businesses demand,” he says. “This availability gap has increased by 2 percent since the last study in 2014. Specifically, unplanned downtime for mission-critical applications has risen to 1.9 hours from 1.4 hours, while the figure for non-mission-critical applications is 5.8 hours, up from four hours.”
Similar underperformance is evident when it comes to recovery time objective for mission-critical applications, which is three hours as opposed to the service-level agreement/ business requirement of 1.6 hours. Recovery point objective is 4.2 hours against the idea of 2.9 hours.
“The Report estimates that the average annual cost of downtime for an organisation can reach $16 million within a 12-month period, an increase of $6 million on the 2014 figure,” Odgers says. “Lack of availability is costing organisations big money—and these figures do not take into account the negative effect on brand equity.”
Odgers says that the huge growth in DRaaS and BaaS (BackUp as a Service) is being driven by CIOs’ need to bridge the availability gap while coping with tightening budgets. The growing maturity of the cloud means that it’s now possible to access offsite infrastructure and storage without investing capital in expensive disaster recovery sites, along with the associated operational and management costs.
However, he emphasises, disaster recovery and backup require considerably more than just reliable alternate infrastructure. Partnering with a reputable business continuity provider like ContinuitySA means that organisations can also access the specialist expertise to ensure that the disaster recovery solution is properly scoped, managed and regularly tested. A specialist provider of business continuity management services also has the experience and staff to offer help in recovering after an event.
The remaining piece of the puzzle, Odgers says, is to provide an easy, efficient way to automate and secure the process of transferring backups or replicas to the offsite provider. At the same time, the solution needs to accommodate clients who also want a backup or replication onsite as well.
Odgers says that Veeam uses the 3-2-1 rule to a solution with the right balance between on- and offsite copies of the data: three copies on two different types of medium, with one of them offsite,” Odgers explains. “Veeam Cloud Connect provides the platform that provides a simple, easy-to-manage dashboard both for the client and the cloud service provider. It also uses SSL encryption to protect data in transit, and a WAN accelerator to reduce the load on the network.”
Odgers says that Veeam now protects more than 11,1 million virtual machines worldwide in partnership with cloud and service providers like ContinuitySA.
“It’s all about providing an easy and cost-effective way for CIOs to take advantage of the cloud to improve their ability to close the availability gap within their budgets,” Odgers concludes. “In fact, the capability is so flexible that CIOs are even using it to provide them with the extra capacity they need for finite but intense workloads, such as marketing campaigns.”
 2016 Veeam Availability Report, available at https://go.veeam.com/2016-availability-report.html.