Part of developing a blueprint for your DRaaS solution is understanding which flavour to choose: Public cloud? Private cloud? Or a managed service?
Public cloud providers would include the cloud computing leaders like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and many others. The cost benefits can be significant, but of course you are just one of many clients, and no specific DR expertise is offered.
Larger companies with multiple data centres could use the DRaaS approach to provide a private cloud within which to provide the DR. The economies of scale would obviously be less substantial, but this might suit a company with a desire to control the solution. Again, though, the company would have to provide the DR expertise.
However, another approach has emerged which, I believe, offers the best of all worlds: managed DRaaS. It is an increasingly popular option for companies large and small, because it combines the cost and scalability benefits of the cloud model, while acknowledging the complexity of DR.
Some of this complexity was indicated in the previous blog, More than just alternate infrastructure, but there is also the fact to consider that ensuring the DR solution is kept up to date and continually tested are also intensive and specialist tasks. As important, when a disaster occurs, it’s quite reassuring to have access to people who have been through such stressful experiences before—and the chances of a successful recovery are higher.
Finding powerful friends
For these reasons, opting for a managed DRaaS solution is gaining favour. In this model, the organisation would contract with a business continuity provider like ContinuitySA, who would offer the DR capability over a network link as described, but would be able also to offer the advisory help in scoping and implementing the right solution, and also the best practices and processes to ensure the solution remains current, and is tested regularly.
The service provider would also have the skilled and experienced personnel on hand to help a client through an actual disaster, a high-pressure period where faulty decision-making can have devastating consequences.
At the same time, the client would receive the cost benefits of effectively sharing the service provider’s infrastructure based on usage, effectively a quasi-private cloud but, of course, with all the governance in place to ensure that client data and systems remain rigorously separate.
If you should decide this is the approach that makes most sense for your organisation, clearly the next big question is how to choose a DRaaS provider—something we’ll look at in depth next time.