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DRaaS vendors grow in 2015, favored by SMBs

In 2015, the number of DRaaS vendors increased and products improved, but cloud disaster recovery is still having trouble finding favor in large organizations.

While disaster recovery as a service offerings matured another year in 2015, they remain far from common in large organizations, many of which already have DR setups in place.

A race to the market by disaster recovery as a service vendors, or DRaaS vendors, stood out in 2015, aimed mainly at smaller companies that historically have found DR too costly or complicated to implement. Now SMBs and smaller enterprises have so many options that it's hard to keep track of them all.

"That happened really quickly," said George Crump, president and founder of IT analyst firm Storage Switzerland LLC, of the rise of DRaaS providers.

Vendors expand DRaaS offerings

For example, Arcserve, now one of those DRaaS vendors, expanded its integrated backup appliance into a cloud disaster recovery service with the launch of Arcserve Cloud. The service is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), as well as midsize companies and service providers looking to offer DRaaS. launched its DRaaS product, which does not require a local appliance and allows managed service providers (MSPs) and companies to run a virtualized native network in the cloud. The service targets MSPs and enterprise businesses.

Nearly half the companies polled in a 2015 TechTarget cloud storage survey say they're using one or more cloud storage service providers to store an average of 24% of their total data. While backup was the most favored application for cloud storage, with 63% of respondents saying at least some of their backup data goes to the cloud, disaster recovery was cited by 44% of respondents.

Crump pointed to recent Gartner statistics that showed in 30,000 production instances of DRaaS, only 13% of sales with DRaaS vendors involved large enterprises.

Backup, DR investment slows enterprise DRaaS adoption

One of the main reasons why large organizations may not adopt cloud disaster recovery, Crump said, is because most already have a significant investment in backup and DR technology, so to completely replace a system with a provider that's probably new to market is a risk.

"The value of the cloud is not as easily demonstrated for the enterprise," Crump said.

Those firms have invested thousands and possibly millions of dollars in large-scale business continuity/disaster recovery planning tools and are not ready financially or operationally to discard those legacy systems for new DRaaS vendors, said IT consultant Paul Kirvan.

"There is likely to be more take-up among SMBs, as cloud services are scalable, have different pricing options, are increasingly secure, and require no investment in floor space or other brick-and-mortar considerations," Kirvan said in an email.

IT consultant Brien Posey said widespread adoption of Microsoft's Azure Stack, which allows companies to run the Azure cloud in their own data center, would help cloud DR become more mainstream.

"Microsoft already provides Azure-based DR for Hyper-V, but there are a lot of architectural differences between Hyper-V VMs and Azure VMs," Posey wrote in an email. "If organizations widely adopt Azure Stack, then the Azure architecture will become a standard and it should theoretically become really easy to perform cloud DR."

Microsoft in 2015 expanded its DR capabilities beyond the Azure network. Updates to Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup provide users with new DRaaS capabilities beyond what was already available for Hyper-V customers.

In 2016, Crump expects more legacy vendors to provide DRaaS.

"I think the cloud will work its way up," Crump said.

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