What Is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)?
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) shifts the disaster recovery operation to the cloud. With DRaaS, “organizations mirror their critical on-premises systems in the cloud and create secure connectivity between the two environments,” Walker Van Arsdale, senior manager of research and insights operations at CDW, writes in a CDW blog.
“This provides near real-time redundancy when the on-premises data center goes offline, keeping applications up and running to support business operations,” Van Arsdale adds.
“A cloud computing and backup service model, DRaaS lets you replicate and host servers through a third-party provider,” Nutanix notes on its website. “Some cloud vendors offer a native, built-in DRaaS solution — eliminating the need for lengthy installation. As a result, DRaaS allows for a failover option if a disaster occurs.”
As Nutanix notes, there are three key steps to a DRaaS solution. The first is replication, which ensures organizations have a duplicate of both physical and virtualized servers, and “ensures frequent, up-to-date snapshots are available to minimize or eliminate data loss.”
The second step is failover, which Nutanix notes helps “ensure end users experience no service difference whatsoever” by transitioning “end-user access from the organization onto the third-party hosting environment.”
Failback is the third step and occurs once a disaster is mitigated. It is “the process of transitioning end user access back to the original organization” and “sets the stage for replication to reenage, making sure the organization is continuously protected,” Nutanix adds.
The Benefits of DRaaS
DRaaS offloads much of the work of disaster recovery to a cloud service provider. Many organizations with lean IT teams “simply can’t afford to take the time needed to research, implement and fully test disaster recovery plans,” VMware states. “DRaaS takes the burden of planning for a disaster off of the organization and puts it into the hands of experts in disaster recovery.”
DRaaS ensures that critical government services will not be interrupted, which is crucial for federal agencies that are providing more citizen services in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The approach has also proven beneficial at the state government level, including in Oregon, which is using Microsoft’s Azure GovCloud DRaaS.
“If something were to go horribly wrong like a natural disaster or a hardware fail,” Bryan Nealy, Oregon’s service support manager, tells GCN, “this disaster system allows us to bring up that production system in another Microsoft data center government cloud in another state.”
DRaaS also allows agencies to save on infrastructure costs. Instead of hosting disaster recovery infrastructure in a remote location with IT staff standing by if disaster strikes, moving to a DRaaS solution obviates the need for that investment, both in terms of personnel and physical infrastructure.
“Many DRaaS providers charge you only if you need their services,” VMware notes.