DRaaS More than Recovery: it's about Migration

By Special Guest
Lee Exall, Managing Partner, Capital Continuity

The emergence, acceptance and adoption of cloud computing have enabled and driven an abundance of disruptive technologies, causing shifts not only in the business models of many enterprises, but in the types of services that many MSPs must provide.

This is especially true in the area of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), where the rise of cloud technology has truly transformed and enhanced service levels that MSPs can offer to businesses of any size.

Since the inception of DRaaS solutions, the direction of protection has predominately been one way, on-premises to cloud or cloud to cloud. And for the way that business infrastructure has worked up until recently, that sort of single direction approach was fine because mission-critical data and applications were often stored in one place. But as cloud technology has become more accepted and organizations have moulded and joined their traditional on-premises systems with private clouds, public clouds and even hybrid clouds, the model for DRaaS must evolve.

Providers must now offer multidirectional, one-to-many, cross-cloud protection and recovery choices that allow customers ease of protection and recovery wherever an organization chooses to run its operations.

DRaaS typically has been sold as a recovery tool for critical data in the case of the unthinkable. And, indeed, that type of protection is important. But DRaaS needs to modernize; it must be something more than a protection and recovery mechanism. Traditional DRaaS steps in at the worst moments. Whereas IT service continuity should deliver freedom of movement between environments of a company’s choosing with the promise of near seamless availability.

According to Gartner, that evolution from DRaaS to a more complete managed availability solution is starting, albeit slowly. In its Hype Cycle for IT Service Continuity report, Gartner describes the new era of IT service continuity management as “the consolidation of IT disaster recovery and high-availability management into a single cohesive management discipline.” Gartner also points out, “Despite its significant potential, however, many supporting technologies are still at a very early implementation maturity stage.”

Going forward, MSPs that want to remain relevant to their clients’ business continuity needs must address disaster recovery and managed availability as two sides of the same coin. That means sourcing the right partners who understand and can execute on “always on expectations” for critical IT applications and systems as well as data recovery after a complete system failure. This new value proposition will return extra value to businesses as they continue to evolve, migrate and protect the data and systems that are the heartbeat of their commercial activities.

MSPs need to be able to offer the ability to quickly respond to disruptions of any size and have business systems operational in minutes, not days. True business interruption protection safeguards a company’s people, brand and assets by making sure that business is always running.  This level of protection requires a DRaaS offering that goes beyond recovery to cross-cloud migration, that is the fluid movement of physical and virtual systems to new technology platforms or Cloud providers. This also means the ability to migrate Linux, mid-range UNIX and Windows environments, replicating complete operating system applications and databases in a seamless and non-intrusive manner to any new environment.

The Internet has created a “got to have” or “always on” mentality. We expect things to work when we want them to work. Our patience for failure and downtime, both as consumers and employees, has dwindled to almost nothing. People get upset when free Wi-Fi service isn’t fast enough or a webpage loads slowly. They start to become antsy when the office email system is down for more than a minute or two.

It’s that mentality that businesses are battling, and in many cases adopting, and it is this “always on” experience that companies are increasingly looking to MSPs to help them provide. The MSP that is ready to provide not just recovery but also day-to-day continuity and cross-cloud migrations with fluid movement between clouds whenever businesses wish to move for commercial, technical or service reasons that is going to be positioned for continued success. Nobody wants to be in a position where extraction of systems and data from a service or incumbent provider rely on interaction with the business you are uncoupling from.

Lee Exall is managing partner of Capital Continuity, provider of Business Interruption Protection software (BIPs) specifically developed for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). BIPs is a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and cloud migration software solution that delivers enterprise level replication, recovery and migration services for clients with uniform or diverse environments.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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