Disaster Recovery Planning – How to Get from Good To Great

A “great” DR plan is one that addresses one of the biggest concerns that organizations have over the disaster recovery process. “Will it work?” Getting a copy of data to the cloud is the beginning of a great DR plan (good), but claiming greatness means leveraging cloud resources to be not only a storage area, but also a recovery area commonly called disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).

DRaaS leverages on-premises virtualization (VMware and Hyper-V) to enable virtual machines to be backed up, replicated to the cloud and started in the cloud. Although some vendors have tried to make DRaaS a product it is really a service as its name implies. It leverages other features; VM backup, replication, and live recovery.

Typically, data is backed up by leveraging either the software’s ability to backup data at a block level or the environment’s API set that provides that functionality. These change blocks are then replicated to the cloud. Once in the cloud the protected VMs are ready for cloud recovery by either starting the VM on the storage they are on or copying them to a more production appropriate storage platform. In most cases, especially for public cloud providers, the VM needs to be transformed to run on the hypervisor that the public cloud provider uses.

The service aspect requires the ability to have these three features interface with and work in the cloud. The service aspect also requires that very critical details like networking be worked out in advance so that users can seamlessly access their cloud-recovered applications.

DRaaS, while not a product, is an important capability. It lowers the cost of being prepared for disaster and makes testing significantly easier. But, organizations are not going to scrap their on-premises capabilities nor the time they’ve spent learning their current applications, just to get that capability. The ability to extend the current application or switch to another application with strong on-premises capability is as important as leveraging DRaaS capability. This reality makes the second concern, deciding on the provider, even more important.

Most providers don’t have the level of staffing and expertise required to deliver DRaaS as a turnkey service. Some vendors have attempted to deliver turnkey solutions, which through automation try to overcome some of the expertise required but automation can only cover so much ground. Most organizations will require skilled experts in setting up and executing a DRaaS strategy if disaster does indeed strike.

KeepItSafe Gets from Good To Great

KeepItSafe is backed by a $1.2 billion revenue cloud services leader, j2 Global®, with locations around the world. It is a purpose-built cloud service provider offering backup data protection and DRaaS. In business for over 20 years, they overcome the primary concern surrounding managed service providers; will they be around for the long-term?

KeepItSafe doesn’t just offer a proprietary software solution to deliver its DRaaS functionality. In fact, they don’t even force the customer into a single data protection solution, instead offering a variety of best of breed data protection solutions. Their portfolio includes the likes of; Asigra, LiveVault, and Veeam among others. KeepItSafe can deliver a DRaaS solution based on any of these solutions or in some cases a combination of these ISVs, to meet customer needs and requirements.

The inclusion of Veeam, via Veeam’s Cloud Connect solution, is particularly critical given the popularity of Veeam in the mid-market and enterprise data center. Customers and resellers can leverage Veeam gold partner KeepItSafe to provide the backend services and staffing required, making DRaaS a completely seamless functional service.

Once configured, KeepItSafe can protect critical applications as frequently as every 15 minutes allowing organizations to meet very strict recovery time objectives (RTO). Initiation of restores can start with a single click, and every backup can be verified for recoverability.

Most importantly, the KeepItSafe staff is proactively monitoring and issues alerts so the organization can solve any problem before it affects business operations. They can also design actual DR and test plans.

Conclusion

Disaster recovery is an area of IT in which most organizations don’t have a lot of confidence. IT is not able to answer honestly the concern over if disaster strikes will they actually be able to recover. DRaaS is a critical step in that direction, but it needs to be wrapped in services and staffing to constantly test DR plans and when during a disaster, assistance is available to see the organization through to complete recovery.

Sponsored by KeepItSafe

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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