Ian Masters is Senior Vice President, Global Channels, at ATADATA.
The explosive growth in data, the digitization of information, and the massive acceleration in public cloud adoption are some of the key drivers behind the growing demand for public cloud-based solutions among enterprises searching for greater flexibility and cost savings, and shifting IT to the OpEx model.
Among the cloud-based solutions that enterprises are pursuing, disaster recovery is emerging as a top IT priority. A recent survey points to disaster recovery, along with workload mobility and archival automation, as a key driver of enterprise cloud adoption, with 82 percent of those surveyed citing disaster recovery as a critical reason to move to the cloud. Meanwhile, another report estimates the disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) market will grow from $2.19 billion in 2017 to $12.54 billion in 2022, with the managed services provider segment achieving the highest growth.
The majority of DRaaS solutions in the market today have very good recovery mechanisms focused on replicating on-premise systems to the public cloud. This traditional model of failover has served companies well for capturing migration to the cloud during times of outages.
However, the complexity of enterprise workloads, the broad range of enterprise IT environments -- physical, virtual, private and public clouds -- and the regularity of outages are leading to substantial problems in providing sufficient, reliable and cost-efficient disaster recovery, and business value. There will be a real need to transform disaster recovery solutions to meet changing enterprise demands as adoption of public cloud for disaster recovery becomes mainstream and the industry matures.
One of these crucial demands is the protection of large data sets and complex multi-tiered applications, such as SAP and Oracle. These application stacks are made up of multiple critical workloads that need protecting individually and as a group. Failing over individual servers that form part of a much larger application stack may result in poor application performance as the stack is split across multiple infrastructures. Depending on the nature of the event, enterprises may have to consider failing over an entire application stack even when there are only individual workload outages.
As recent events have shown us, costly outages can be due to a range of factors, from human error and software failure to natural disasters and cyber threats. As these outages and threats continue to evolve into more substantial events, we need to redefine our approach to DraaS. DRaaS solutions need to evolve to also provide the crucial capability for enterprise workloads to recover back -- or failback -- to their original source environment or to an alternative cloud.
In other words, DRaaS needs to be a round-trip service that enables organizations to remain operational throughout an event with the capability to quickly revert back to business-as-normal after the event. This avoids the high cost of running a cloud-based DRaaS solution for an extended time past the event, and ensures that the business does not suffer from considerable downtime when trying to revert.
Challenges to Successful Failback
DRaaS solutions have been primarily focused on failover, which is relatively easy because the destination is the same platform every time. Failback is currently a highly manual effort in most DRaaS solutions, involving risk of data loss and errors, and costly downtime. With 60 minutes of downtime costing businesses more than $300,000 on average, getting back is just as important as staying up through the disaster.
With enterprises today employing a mix of hardware, hypervisors, and clouds to run their business, there is no set of unified APIs for orchestration of recovery processes, no instance templates, and no repository of drivers. The effort required for DRaaS technology to support the failback process across an almost unlimited set of different infrastructures requires an enormous amount of orchestration, automation and development, and this is why the majority of DRaaS solutions support a small subset of operating systems, hypervisors, and clouds for failover, and then struggle to offer a seamless failback process.
Disaster Recovery Strategy
. In evaluating these solutions, the key questions to ask are:
- Does it have the technical capabilities to support your environment?
- Does it create protection groups for servers across an application stack to ensure sufficient performance during smaller outages?
- Does it enable seamless failover and failback during an event and during planned maintenance?
- Does it offer the ability to recover from the most up to date copy of data or a previous point-in-time?
- Does it allow disaster recovery testing regularly without business disruption and downtime?
Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.
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