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Disaster Recovery as a service (DRaaS) began as a solution for companies with lower budgets and simpler disaster recovery (DR) needs. Today, however, DRaaS solutions can meet a wide array of DR requirements for enterprises reluctant to build and maintain their own disaster recovery environment.

What is DRaaS?

Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication of data and the hosting of physical or virtual servers by an expert third-party service provider. That provider can deliver quicker and more complete disaster recovery, protecting the organization by maintaining business continuity.

As Gartner’s new Market Guide for Disaster Recovery notes, the DRaaS market has become more versatile and feature-rich over the past few years: “DRaaS providers are addressing value chain opportunities — from support for more workload types, to application assurance add-ons, to proactive services related to security and change management.”

Nevertheless, DRaaS is still a varied market and not all DRaaS providers can meet every need. IT departments need to consider the differences in DRaaS solutions and the trade-offs between different providers and between DRaaS and a traditional on-site disaster recovery environment.

Questions you should ask a provider before adopting DRaaS

1. Can the solution support multiple platforms?

While support for the x86 platform in DRaaS is ubiquitous, other platforms are far less likely to be supported. Gartner finds some support for the IBM Power Systems/AS 400, HCI, Unix, and mainframe platforms, although far less common than support for the x86. Likewise, hypervisor support differs. Most DRaaS providers support two or three hypervisors, such as Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Xen, KVM, or VMware ESX and ESXi.

2. Does it address hybrid environments?

DRaaS replicates workloads from virtual machines in the production environment – at a data center or in the cloud -- to virtual machines in the recovery environment. However, most organizations today have hybrid environments with both physical servers and public or private cloud environments. Many also want to protect mobile and remote desktop environments. These disparate environments make it difficult to achieve a uniform, synchronized recovery environment. Maintaining different DR environments makes it more difficult. To synchronize processes and data across all applications. Perhaps the best approach for IT departments with hybrid IT environments is to find a DRaaS provider with data protection services across physical, virtual, cloud, and mobile environments.

Also read: Hybrid Cloud vs. Multicloud – What’s the Difference?

3. Will adopting DRaaS impact other IT initiatives?

Organizations in the midst of an IT migration or digital transformation project may want to wait before committing to a DRaaS provider. If an organization isn’t sure which workloads may change or what new platforms may be introduced, it’s going to be difficult to know if a DRaaS provider can support the future environment. However, working with a leading DRaaS provider that supports a wide range of platforms and technologies can alleviate some of the uncertainty.

Also read: The Strategic Guide to Disaster Recovery and DRaaS

4. Will it meet my stringent compliance requirements?

Organizations that must meet stringent security and data protection regulations have to carefully consider what they need in a DR environment. If they opt for an outsourced DR or DRaaS solution, they need to ensure that the chosen provider has experience and expertise in their industry’s requirements. Small DRaaS providers may specialize in only a couple of industries. But large providers almost always have expertise in a range of national and international data security and privacy laws, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, Sarbanes-Oxley, and the healthcare industry’s HIPAA law. DRaaS providers with proof of experience and regulatory certifications in a customer’s industry can be a significant help in achieving compliance.

Gartner advises IT organizations to assess the workload types and recovery locations, as well as future strategic initiatives such as application modernization, cloud migration when considering DRaaS vs a do-it-yourself DR solution. Other considerations include time-to-value and IT labor costs. Does the organization have the expertise and budget to do its own DR planning, run book creation, implementation, and management of the DR environment? Many DRaaS providers offer managed services both for the initial planning and implementation as well as the day-to-day monitoring and maintenance.

More on DRaaS provider attributes in the DRaaS Market Guide

DRaaS is an ideal solution for companies that want to move their disaster recovery operations offsite and into the cloud, protect their mountains of vital data, and focus their IT staff on revenue-generating projects. A managed services provider, who specializes in disaster recovery, should be able to help you address the questions above and provide the right disaster recovery or DRaaS solution for your business. Want to learn more about Disaster Recovery as a Service or talk to an expert? Contact us today.

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