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How do I choose the right cloud services provider for DRaaS?

Which is better for DRaaS -- an IaaS host like Amazon or a smaller managed service provider that offers more assistance with operations?

It depends on the organization's unique needs. The main advantages of a large cloud services provider such as Amazon...

are consistency and predictability. Large cloud disaster recovery providers offer rock-solid reliability (at least most of the time) and typically will give you a financially backed cloud service-level agreement (SLA).

Large cloud services providers can also offer access to an extensive documentation library. This means you can get the answers to all your technical questions before you sign up for the service, so you know exactly what the service is -- and is not -- capable of. In short, the SLA and documentation give you a predictable experience.

The disadvantage with a major cloud services provider is that you are unlikely to get service tailored to your needs. Conversely, smaller providers may be willing to work with you to put a system into place that fully meets your needs.

The disadvantage with a smaller cloud services provider is the issue of limited resources. Smaller providers are unlikely to have data centers all over the world or the ability to significantly ramp up capacity for many customers at a moment's notice (following a regional disaster).

In my opinion, you are probably better off going with one of the large providers so long as it meets your requirements.

Next Steps

DR in the cloud takes flight

Disaster recovery in the cloud obstacles

 Addressing cloud failover problems with DRaaS

This was last published in May 2015

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What criteria do you use in choosing a cloud services provider for disaster recovery?
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I have used several services for backup, so have faced this decision. One factor you will assuredly come to is the size of your backup. Unitrends is one I recommend because they are the only one that has a backup box they send to you for an initial backup.  Backing up terabytes of data over a wire is excruciating. Unitrends box simply makes that go away.
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Most cloud backup and cloud DR services offer some method of initially seeding a data protection repository. Most will accept large amounts of data on hard disks or other media; some will ship an appliance that users can fill up and return. The bottom line is that most of these services provide some type of accommodation--the key thing is to ensure that the service you contract with can handle the data volumes that you require.
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