Picture this: You've just been involved in a minor car accident. Thankfully, you have car insurance, and while you hoped to never use it, it sits available at a moment’s notice. In the business world, that's the essence of Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS). It's like insurance for your critical data and applications: it might seem unnecessary at first, but when disaster strikes, you'll be grateful for the investment.
DRaaS is currently one of the leading managed services due to its unparalleled benefits, customizability, and alignment with specific business objectives. In this article, we will explore its rising popularity and the significant value it offers to enterprises.
The DR Revolution
Let’s quickly begin with the origins of the 3-2-1 rule, which can be traced back to the 1960s. It was during this period that early iterations of the computer entered our everyday world. With the 3-2-1 rule, a third copy of an organization’s most critical data would be stored off-site for disaster recovery purposes. This could be due to a natural disaster or a data breach. Though not in the form of cassette tapes or CDs, this 3-2-1 practice is still very popular today, give or take a few nuances.
Before the days of virtualization, businesses were required to uphold a second data center, which meant investing in extra servers and infrastructure. Moreover, keeping everything synchronized and managing replication across various locations was a burdensome task, particularly with physical hosts. All these factors led to the doubling of infrastructure and expenses associated with DR, making it less feasible for organizations with limited IT agility.
However, the emergence of virtual machines (VMs) and the public cloud marked a shift in the DR landscape. With the introduction of orchestration tools, workflows and recovery processes are now automated - including IP and network changes. This automation simplifies the DR process and makes it more manageable and cost-effective for businesses, allowing them to achieve resilience without the burden of excessive expenses.
As technology advanced, public cloud providers teamed up with VMs to offer VMWare Cloud Services, enabling businesses to run VMs in the cloud. This breakthrough led to the introduction of DRaaS to deliver flexibility and stability to workloads.
The era of hybrid cloud and the advent of modern and natural threats paved the way for newer DRaaS platforms so it is important that businesses keep their disaster recovery plans up to speed. WEI's Mark Gabryjelski says, "The value WEI brings to the table is the expertise in running these newer DR-as-a-Service solutions across various public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP (Google Cloud Platform)."
This specialized skill set of understanding networking, security, and other ancillary services from various cloud providers enables WEI to deliver tailored solutions that meet various business requirements.
3 Reasons To Embrace DRaaS
DRaaS comes in different forms, and provides a host of benefits for any type of business, including:
- Scalability: Whether an enterprise runs 1 or 500 VMs, has 20 servers or 100 servers, understanding the business requirements allows for tailored DRaaS tiers that align with existing VM design and needs. VMware NSX, a network virtualization software, plays a vital role in making the service flexible by enabling multiple networks with the same IP range. This streamlines the DR process and ensures a smoother and more forecasted recovery experience for different customers with overlapping IP ranges. Of course, understanding the business requirements of DR-as-a-Service opens up new avenues of discussion where we can really get into the costing model and determine the importance of applications. The need to be recovered at all, versus the need to be recovered in a day, four hours or even a week. The quicker the recovery time, the more expensive the end solution.
- Cost-effectiveness: Moving to an operational expense model eliminates the need for a license to run it and to own and maintain physical equipment, making DRaaS a more affordable option.
- Efficiency in operations: Opting for the as-a-Service option for DR streamlines manpower allocation compared to maintaining a second data center or working through unnecessary IT personnel skill gaps The security and recoverability features of a public cloud also eliminate the need for physical site maintenance.
DRaaS is an attractive solution, but it's not one-size-fits-all. It should always align with a business's specific needs and requirements. The key is defining what applications need in terms of availability and recoverability.
What’s Next For DRaaS?
DRaaS is not going anywhere, and IT leaders should take note. Many WEI customers have experienced pain points that could have been prevented with a reliable and tested DRaaS plan. A robust DRaaS plan plays a critical role in minimizing the impacts of disasters, ensuring business resilience, and preparing for the future.
Business leaders should explore possible scenarios when planning to employ DRaaS. Mark highlights these questions to start the conversation around DR:
- What am I planning for?
- How am I planning to recover my workloads should the worst thing happen?
As DR solutions have advanced to become more accessible and cost-effective, he emphasizes DRaaS' significance as an "insurance policy" for protecting critical data and applications.
The integration of virtual machines (VMs) and personalized DRaaS in the public cloud environment provides businesses with reliable protection and peace of mind amid the ever-growing threats of ransomware, phishing, malware, and growing natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes.
At WEI, we understand that each business is unique, and with increasingly escalating cyber threats, DRaaS is becoming a top priority for companies aiming to establish robust IT infrastructures. Having this service in place is something every business will be grateful for, as it provides the assurance of enhanced resilience and protection against potential disruptions.
Whether you choose VMware on-premises or in the cloud, our dedicated professionals can offer expert advice on managing your workloads to meet your objectives and ensure you're ready for any unforeseen circumstances.
Next steps: WEI's Mark Gabryjelski, who has been practicing VMware since 2000, and ESX since 2002, explains in the video below why it is wise to regularly perform an optimization assessment on an enterprise's cluster infrastructure.