Disaster recovery as a service has become an increasingly popular way for organizations to back up vital data and applications. With DRaaS, a third-party DR provider replicates physical or virtual servers to provide failover to a secondary infrastructure in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
DRaaS can be especially helpful and cost-effective for SMBs and other larger organizations that lack the in-house expertise to develop and test a DR plan. DRaaS enables organizations to address their DR requirements without the need to own or lease space for a secondary data center or purchase servers, storage and network equipment. An organization uses the DRaaS provider's networking, storage and services to replicate and recover its critical data and applications. These third-party vendors also provide ongoing maintenance of the hardware and software, network connections and security on the DR side.
Although there are many benefits to DRaaS, the real differentiator between managed service providers is the level and quality of the services they deliver. When an organization invokes DR, it's in some degree of a business crisis and needs to quickly obtain vendor assistance. Delays when implementing DR have real-world financial consequences.
In the Intel-based DRaaS market there are key players, including Zerto and Veaam, that provide service offerings for these third-party DR providers. In fact, many of the DRaaS vendors examined here offer one of these two products for cloud-to-cloud recovery or for on-premises-to-cloud recovery. The value-add is in the additional processes and ease of use built into these products.
The DRaaS market consists of numerous providers, all with different strategies and approaches. Here we examine 10 significant vendors.
Bios Middle East
Headquartered in Dubai, Bios Middle East focuses on the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is an underserved market compared to North America, Europe and Africa.
The company offers a fully managed service that includes both automated and manual monitoring. The company also provides a range of physical, virtual and cloud backup offerings, and it takes care of any maintenance and testing.
This may be good news for companies that wish to pass DR management and testing onto a third party. But it also means that using additional external clouds Bios Middle East doesn't support could be problematic.
The company's main selling point above and beyond its fully managed service is the market it serves. The UAE has some specific data-sharing and privacy requirements that mandate certain companies provide access to data on demand, regardless of whether it's a disaster scenario.
Bios Middle East comes as a fully designed plan customized to customer requirements.
C&W Business is designed for organizations that have multiple data centers, as the company has large network and infrastructure capacity, and DR comes as a natural business expansion. The company has data centers in North and Central America and provides fully managed and self-service DRaaS options.
The company supports physical and virtual x86 hardware, as well as IBM iSeries and Unix. It can provide a wide range of DR services, including a mix of physical, virtual and non-x86 systems in one coherent DR plan.
The cost of C&W Business' services is based on the volume, location and complexity of the organization's requirements.
Expedient's selling point is one-push DR, which means that once a disaster strikes, the single push of a button can automatically instigate the DR failover as needed. This helps provide organizations with a straightforward, easy-to-implement DR strategy.
The company supports physical and virtual x86 environments and predominantly serves the North American market with three physically discrete DR locations.
Expedient offers a fully managed service that provides organizations with quick and reliable failover. Expedient's service is designed for medium and large organizations that have the budget but perhaps not the time or experience to fully manage their entire DR scenario.
To reduce the risk of resource contention in the event of a regional outage, Expedient makes a point of not oversubscribing its services and offers a single high-performance tier. While this helps provide personalized service, it does result in more-expensive DRaaS.
Expedient's pricing structure is based on the number of machines replicated, disk usage and bandwidth.
IBM's Resiliency DRaaS offerings are designed for larger companies and governmental organizations that have mixed environments. IBM offers a range of services along with its own automation software. Although IBM has a bespoke pricing model, it enables larger organizations to scale as desired.
The cost of IBM's services is based on the number of machines to be included and the amount of storage used. IBM DRaaS is designed for large organizations that want fully managed DR offerings and assisted DRaaS and can afford the expense.
IBM provides services to identify key systems that require higher levels of DR as well as test executions and help with nontechnical items such as business resilience planning. IBM DRaaS also supports non-Intel workloads including iSeries and zSeries.
Iland Internet Solutions
IIand evolved from a VMware-based IaaS offering into a fully capable DR company that offers cloud-based DR as well as DRaaS offerings using the functionality of Zerto.
Iland provides organizations with the ability to fail over not just across a single vendor's cloud, but from one cloud to another, such as from AWS to Azure.
Iland has a VMware and virtualization background, so the company can support large organizations with a variety of replication technologies. The company offers service options ranging from self-service to fully managed. Iland only supports physical and virtual x86 hardware.
The cost of the service is based on the technology used. For example, if an organization uses the Zerto functionality, pricing is based on the number of VMs, bandwidth and disk utilization.
InterVision's recent acquisition of DRaaS specialist BlueLock enables the company to focus on a managed services approach, surrounding predominantly virtual infrastructure using a suite of tools but overlaid with propriety DR run book technologies to provide DR failover on demand.
InterVision supports third-party tools, including Veeam, Zerto and Veritas. This enables organizations -- SMBs, predominantly -- to use InterVision's existing technology to complement other vendor services. The company supports physical and virtual x86 hardware as well as non-Intel hardware.
Microsoft Azure Site Recovery
Organizations of all sizes can use Azure Site Recovery to replicate physical hosts into the cloud, such as Windows and Linux applications and database servers on local disk.
Azure Site Recovery provides an easy-to-use DR capability for companies that use Windows or Linux and are fully based in the Azure cloud.
Azure Site Recovery doesn't support all VM configurations. But organizations can avoid this issue by using VMs that are compatible with Azure's size, disk type, OS and other requirements. Although this won't be an issue for 99% of users, it's something to note.
Azure Site Recovery includes a well-documented API that enables organizations to hook into whatever system they use as long as it supports API calls. The entire Azure Site Recovery suite comes with a built-in customizable and easy-to-use run book.
Azure Site Recovery also offers options for virtual infrastructure support, including Hyper-V and VMware. Both platforms are supported for failover to the cloud.
As with most things on Azure, the cost is clearly defined. Each VM comes with a monthly charge for DR capability along with billing for bandwidth and disk.
Recovery Point Systems
Recovery Point supports a wide range of platforms -- from VMs to IBM mainframes. One feature that differentiates this DRaaS offering from others is on-demand sandbox testing. Although most virtual vendors provide this, it's unusual in the physical world. DR testing within the sandbox doesn't impact production and can be done on demand, so ad-hoc tests allow an organization to directly test any changes it makes.
This feature is useful for organizations that are contractually obligated to ensure that DR is periodically tested and proven to work. Recovery Point is generally best suited to large-scale and government organizations where accreditation for security policies and frameworks is critical.
Along with virtual and physical x86 platforms, Recovery Point also supports IBM iSeries, zSeries and classic Unix platforms.
Recovery Point is U.S. based. Pricing is based on the client organization's configuration needs.
Sungard Availability Services (AS)
The Sungard AS client portfolio tends to include larger blue-chip companies that have a mature and established infrastructure.
Sungard AS provides support for non-x86 hardware such as the AS/400 and RS6000. Although such breadth comes at a cost, this may not be a factor for companies that have a wide range of platforms and need to get services up and running again quickly. The vendor offers fully managed and self-managed DRaaS or a hybrid of the two.
Sungard's AS automation system enables organizations to tweak and configure the automation and run book to suit their needs, essentially tiering the requirements and, therefore, the cost. With this system, companies can fully automate their failover before an issue occurs.
With Sungard AS, organizations can fail over to the cloud as well as to physical DR sites if needed. Few DR providers offer the ability to fail over to physical infrastructure in a secondary data center.
Sungard AS' fully managed DRaaS offering has a noticeable premium price, but the company is effective in the specific support it offers. Sungard AS also offers a range of services and pricing for multiple tiers of recovery, including lower-cost self-service cloud recovery and shared physical recovery options.
TierPoint supports both Intel and non-Intel hardware as well as an array of DRaaS technologies that organizations can fine-tune to their requirements. The cloud recovery vendor provides DR-related services, including DR to the cloud, Microsoft Azure Site Recovery and additional services such as business continuity. It also offers organizations varying service levels, ranging from self-service to fully managed.
TierPoint supports additional site-to-site and cloud recovery. Site-to-site recovery can be useful for DRaaS users that are unable to migrate to the cloud due to technical issues, such as legacy systems that can't be supported on the cloud, or security and contractual obligations. While TierPoint has many data centers, it's primarily U.S.-based and caters to that market.