Dan's Take

DRaaS in the Clouds

Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service vendor OnApp touts its wares.

It seems that executives of a whole herd of startups and mainline storage suppliers have become fascinated by the intersection of cloud storage services and disaster recovery. For example, my Inbox contained a message from OnApp telling me that the company had just announced "a new Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) capability for the its cloud platform used by public, private and hybrid cloud services providers worldwide."

Here's a snippet of the announcement:

OnApp DRaaS adds real-time data replication and restore to OnApp clouds. It enables services providers to offer Constant Data Protection (CDP) for enterprise applications and data that demand the highest-possible resilience, and expands the range of applications that businesses are willing to host 'in the cloud.' OnApp DRaaS is now in beta testing with OnApp cloud providers. General availability is planned for Q3 2015.

OnApp DRaaS uses distributed cloud capacity over secure connections to replicate virtual server data in real time.

The key to this announcement is that OnApp would like services providers to rely on its OnApp Storage, which is in turn built upon its OnApp Cloud platform.

Better Than Sliced Bread?
Everyone in the storage, backup and recovery, and systems business seems to believe that their DRaaS offering is the best thing since pockets, and far better than sliced bread or canned beer. Over the last few months, I've heard similar stories from Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and a whole host of backup and disaster recovery (DR) software companies.

DR is a set of processes, procedures, backup or replication software, and storage designed to survive the loss of applications, systems, databases, and so on. The assumption is that things are going to fail; and maintaining copies of important data, usually off-site, can make recovering from that disaster both easier and quicker.

Cloud storage suppliers added on the concept that the storage that's the target of both the backup and recovery technology should be both off-site and in their data center. They, of course, would like enterprises to rent storage space on an as-needed basis, which they say will save money over the company purchasing its own storage infrastructure.

Dan's Take: The Consultant's Answer
Depending on the size and capabilities of the enterprise, this just might be a good deal.

Smaller enterprises would like to enjoy the comfort of knowing that their critical data will survive the loss of their application systems without them also having to accept the burden of acquiring and maintaining the storage, the SAN, the systems, the backup and recovery software, and, of course, the costs of staff, facilities management, power and cooling.

Departments of larger enterprises might prefer to move the cost of these things from the capital to the operational expense side of their ledger by subscribing to a services offering rather than purchasing hardware, software licenses, and having a sizable staff devoted to backup and recovery.

In the end, the decision hinges on whether an ongoing services offering makes better business sense than acquiring the IT resources needed.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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