Backup vs. Disaster Recovery vs. DRaaS


By now you should know that you need some sort of disaster recovery plan. If not, read this… and this. (links back to previous two blogs) But what exactly does “having a disaster recovery plan” mean and what options are available for your business? Thanks to ever-improving technology, cloud computing has created an opportunity for a new kind of DR: Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). DRaaS is the flexible, scalable, affordable kind of DR businesses have been waiting for.

Have you ever uttered the phrase “I back up once a night”? That means the last copy you have is from last night, which is usually stale. Most business applications change a lot during a day. It also means that you have to go through the timely process of re-awakening a system from a backup. Furthermore, if the backup is (more safely) stored elsewhere, there’s the travel-time of getting it to the primary location.

DR will get you a little bit further than a backup solution. In this scenario, systems replicate your data on an ongoing basis from a primary location to a secondary location. Usually:

  • Replication periods are measured in minutes, or even seconds. So, the last copy is fairly fresh.
  • The secondary copy is held in stasis until it is re-animated via a fail-over trigger.
  • The secondary location can be another data center in another region.

Basically, DR allows you to trigger a failover and be live at the secondary location in minutes. But what if you don’t have (or can’t afford) a secondary physical location? That’s where DRaaS comes in. DRaaS allows you to execute the same disaster recovery replication with the cloud as your secondary location. In that case:

  • The speeds involved are similarly fast: minutes or seconds to recovering systems
  • You pay only for storage while the systems are replicating/in stasis – and once they fail over, you’ll pay for CPU and Memory resources, as you consume them

DRaaS is a great way to achieve business continuity goals quickly and more cheaply than owning a secondary data center yourself.

Sounds like a win-win, right? Get the right amount of protection you need, when you need it at a price you can afford. There is just one little caveat to consider when choosing DRaaS, make downright sure the cloud environment you are using is secure, resilient, has excellent customer service and willing to work with your ever changing IT footprint.

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