While the industry is dominated by digital transformation initiatives, Andrew Cruise, MD of Routed, says that considering a cloud-first strategy is only one of two current imperatives: “Disaster Recovery (DR) planning needs to be a significant part of any IT transformation plan. Without these, business transformation will be impacted.”

Thankfully, Cruise says that the evolution of Software as a Service (SaaS) in the cloud has resulted in a much-needed DR option, which will enable DR to become more of a reality and a viable option for those who cannot afford downtime.

“DRaaS is proving itself as a simple and inexpensive solution for modern-day DR. What was previously manual and intensive is now a lot more accessible and affordable. This is good news for the enterprise as so many look for more efficient DR solutions,” says Cruise.

By utilising the cloud as a DR site, costs are kept lower and DR is at last possible for a majority of larger customers previously thwarted by cost and the manual process associated with DR. There is also no longer the need to use trickled-down hardware in a recovery environment: “However, if the recovery environment is similar in performance and age to production, it will be very expensive in terms of both CAPEX (paying double) and OPEX (keeping it powered on, updated and in good working order) and will be inefficiently utilised. In addition, there is also the usual risk of disaster such as fire and theft to the recovery environment,” says Cruise.

Cloud DR, however, is typically procured on a usage basis and is, as a result, more cost effective and less risky.

Cruise says that data prioritising is key to ensure the costing and access of the DR solution is functionally relevant. The first step, he says, is to identify the recovery infrastructure because without a recovery environment there is no recovery. Once done, the second step is to record the workloads and applications, with dependencies, if necessary. This should then allow the enterprise to group data and applications in terms of priority. Thirdly, Cruise says that the organisation must decide, with input from application owners, on the level of criticality of applications and assess the risk and impact of downtime for each group of applications as this will define the DR schedules. Lastly, software needs to be chosen to execute the replication of workloads to the recovery environment.

DraaS is an increasingly popular means for backing up data and applications, while also providing immediate system failover to a secondary infrastructure. Speed, lower cost and enhanced reliability, improved administration; and seamless redundancy and scalability all make DRaaS a key part of any business transformation plans.

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