Does Disaster Recovery (DR) keep you awake at night worrying? Do you have recurring nightmares of getting “that” call informing you that your IT department is declaring a disaster? While no blog article can prevent or even reliably predict the need for executing a DR plan, we can help you think through being prepared. One specific option to consider is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).
Some common elements we have all come to expect from Cloud computing are greater flexibility, quick and easy capacity changes, and only paying for what you need. These benefits hold true in DRaaS as well. But some common concerns with Cloud computing also come as standard features, like what is the skill level, and what measures are in place to protect my data and my business? When it comes to selecting a DRaaS provider, there is certainly a multitude of providers from which to choose, each bringing differing skills and capabilities to the market. This is a good thing, since DR is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Your specific business requirements need to drive the selection process, but what types of concerns and questions should be on the table?
Core DR Issues
In any DR plan, consideration must be made for physical location. If a major metropolitan-wide disaster strikes, a DR site on the other side of town may also be obliterated. Yet physical location also impacts data currency. The further away your DR site, the more time and money it takes to get your data transmitted, and the larger the potential currentness gap. These do not change with Disaster Recovery as a Service solutions and need to be considered.
Shared vs Dedicated DR Site
If you operate your own DR site, you have control over the quantity and readiness of systems in the target site. Warm or Hot sites are not the same. Taking down a less critical system such as a development environment to bring up a copy of your production system in a Warm site will be different than flipping the switch from the Primary to the Backup in a Hot site scenario. Likewise, the type of reserved capacity at your DRaaS location may function in different modes. In fact, you may not even have dedicated resources, but rather be provisioned on an as-needed basis from a pool of reserve capacity the provider manages. Since DRaaS providers often support multiple clients, you need to be clear what you need, and what you are signed up to receive. During an actual disaster is no time to find out that you are only guaranteed 100 servers when you need 200!
Network Capacity and Redundancy
Make certain that your Disaster Recovery as a Service provider is capable of handling the network capacity you need, and that they have sufficient redundancy to handle a sudden spike in workload. During times of natural disaster, especially wide-spread events like hurricanes or earthquakes, the demands on the telecom industry are phenomenal. Coupled with customers wanting to check status on their accounts and orders as soon as possible, your can expect to see greater traffic than normal for a while. Make sure your DRaaS provider is scaling for these types of peak demand events, even while potentially facing compromised capacity.
Disaster Recovery as a Service has a lot to offer businesses large and small. But you need to be certain to work with a provider that is well suited to handle the specific demands of your business. Like insurance, you want the right coverage for the best possible price. The same idea applies to your DR services provider.