The idea that disaster recovery can be sold as a value-priced service managed in the cloud is not new, but it’s quickly gaining traction among savvy CIOs and IT managers keeping a close eye on their budgets.
According to managed services provider (MSP) Logicalis, many CXOs today realize that as the cloud emerges from IT, some services adaptable as offerings in the cloud make complete financial and technical sense. Disaster recovery as a service is a perfect example; however, experts say many cost-conscious CIOs and other executives still hesitate due to price.
“Everybody is worried about the price of disaster recovery,” said Michael Feil, director of cloud solutions for Logicalis. “But what is the price of a business’ downtime?”
According to Feil, business leaders need to take a hard look at numbers they already have on hand. People have downtime numbers based on holidays when the company is closed; they know what it means to be shut down for an entire day, week or more. However, they don’t want to look at it because doing so cost-justifies disaster recovery as a needed expense.
Gartner research estimates approximately one-third of middle-market organizations will embrace the cloud for data recovery within the next two years, according to John Morency, research vice president, Systems, Security & Risk, Gartner.
“Moving disaster recovery to the cloud may well be a smart business move. It takes a significant infrastructure to correctly administer a disaster recovery program,” Morency said. “Because they operate on economies of scale and a shared-resources model, cloud providers have the IT equipment, the personnel and the training to provide disaster recovery as a service to mid-sized clients on a large scale more cost effectively and with greater precision than many middle-market organizations can do on their own.”
For these organizations, disaster recovery as a service is a strong alternative to a premises-based business continuity/disaster recovery plan, according to Logicalis. The company outlined six of the top reasons CIOs should put DR-as-a-Service on their radars for early adoption in 2012.
1. Minimizing Costs: Disaster recovery plans are expensive. To do it right, there’s no avoiding the duplication of assets. And when a technology refresh is called for, businesses are caught in the financial trap of refreshing both sites as well as spending untold man-hours and intellectual knowledge just on the process of creating synergies between the two sites. In essence, it’s like running two data centers rather than one. On the flip side, with DR-as-a-Service, all of the disaster recovery planning work, all the technology refreshes, all the man hours needed to make things sync – all of those costs belong to the service provider. The business customer pays a fixed monthly op-ex cost that can be expected to remain fairly constant for three to 10 years even with two or three technology refreshes thrown in.
2. Maximizing Knowledge: Companies that take on the chore of disaster recovery in house have to become experts in DR as well as everything else they do on an IT basis. They continually invest and reinvest in that knowledge base, and oftentimes just one or two key people in the tech department hold expertise. What if those in-house experts leave? With DR-as-a-Service, the entire service provider’s organization is dedicated to building expertise in disaster recovery.
3. Faster Access to Experts: Economies of scale are a clear advantage in just about every area of business. This holds true when a customer needs to talk with the technical experts at an OEM. While a single business may have purchased a substantial amount of equipment from a vendor, it’s unlikely that they have as deep of a relationship with that vendor as the cloud service provider has, given their volume of purchases and ongoing support contracts. So, when every second counts and a business’ systems are down, CIOs will be thankful they have direct and immediate access to the wealth of knowledge and highest level of certified professionals on their cloud provider’s staff.
4. Management & Monitoring: In today’s world, fast recovery point and time objectives are more the norm than the exception. Even the most prepared IT managers today often hear about downtime from customers; they didn’t know a failure was imminent and their DR systems may not have been live and at the ready. Service providers offering DR-as-a-Service, however, live and breathe disaster recovery; as a result, they have the most sophisticated systems possible to monitor their clients’ data centers, alert them to impending failures, and manage the recovery process faster and more smoothly than most in-house IT departments can react.
5. Failback: If a company’s DR facility is an older or secondary data center, not as well equipped as the primary, the IT department faces a time-crunch, trying to determine how to failback before a new event takes place. But with DR-as-a-Service, the cloud provider has significant infrastructure and resources since those resources are shared among many users; they have stringent standards in place that give CIOs the luxury of planning a failback strategy over time that makes sense with the added benefit of the deep knowledge of the cloud provider’s engineering staff at their disposal.
6. Job Security: According to research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, 93 percent of companies that suffer significant data loss go out of business within five years. There is a lot of risk involved for CIOs who implement their own disaster recovery plans in house. With DR-as-a-Service, the responsibility largely shifts to the service provider, and with clearly defined SLAs, CIOs and IT managers gain a measure of comfort and job security.
Still on the fence? Check out “Logicalis Asks: Should Businesses Move Disaster Recovery to the Cloud?”
Executive Editor, Cloud Computing
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