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Forrester: Flexible service, cheaper costs help grow DRaaS market

According to a recent Forrester Research report, DRaaS is growing in popularity among organizations.

IT administrators looking at less expensive ways to maintain a resilient environment are increasingly looking toward...

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) as a cheap, flexible DR option, according to a recent report from Forrester.

Forrester's report reviewed what the firm called the most significant service providers, which they listed as Axcient, Barracuda Networks, CenturyLink Technology Solutions, EVault, HP, IBM, iland, nScaled, Persistent Systems, Quorum, SunGard and Verizon Terremark.

Users who turn to DRaaS rely on a vendor to provide disaster recovery failover to a cloud environment, according to Forrester, either through a contract or pay-per-use basis. So an organization isn't on the hook for investing in -- and maintaining -- an off-site DR environment. DRaaS contracts also can be flexible as the needs of users change.

"One thing that many of the leaders in this evaluation shared was high levels of flexibility. This is one of the classic complaints against traditional DR services, so many of the DRaaS offerings are working hard to combat that," said Rachel Dines, senior analyst at Forrester and author of the report. "Flexibility can be manifested as deployment models, supported platforms, the ability to change contracts midstream, or in the options for managed or unmanaged services."

The report noted that costs are lower with DRaaS due to its pay-as-you-go nature -- most users typically are only consuming storage, and VMs are started only during a test or recovery scenario.

"The only way you can really know if your DR service is working (besides declaring a disaster) is to run tests. Customers that I've spoken to really value the providers that enabled them to test more frequently and more comprehensively," Dines said. "Some of the evaluated providers offer unlimited testing, others offered the more standard one test per year, but all of them worked to make testing easier and less intrusive than it would be in a traditional or on-premises scenario."

Of the 438 organizations surveyed for the report, about 19% had some form of DRaaS implementation, while an additional 22% expected to implement it. Meanwhile, 29% reported that they weren't interested in DRaaS, and 7% said they hadn't heard of it.

Dines said that most of those who weren't interested had alternative DR schemes in place.

"There are very few companies that do nothing for DR at all, but most have not boarded the DRaaS train yet," Dines said. "The most common approach for implementing DR is still to run it in-house, although it's definitely not an 'all or nothing' proposition. Many companies are using multiple methods for sourcing their DR capabilities."

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