The cloud has disrupted the business world unlike anything we’ve ever seen. In the blink of an eye it has changed the way we handle software. It’s made us think twice about how we backup our IT systems. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a fast growing reality. But does it makes sense for you? Let’s find out! We’ll explore some of the pros and cons for each and find out if disaster recovery service makes sense for you.
Welcome to the Old School Data Backup
Since tape is widely viewed as a less reliable alternative, our discussion will look at disk as the traditional method. Sorry tape fans, but disk won the backup beauty contest. Used to its full potential, disk can be the glue in a comprehensive data protection strategy that optimizes backup and recovery, and simplifies day-to-day management processes. Three key benefits stand out when sizing up the old school way to back up:
1. Premium Performance: Disk-based systems score high marks in the performance department, because they write and seek data at exceptional speeds. This allows for faster backups at night and shorter recovery times when the sudden need for restoration arises.
2. Versatile Functionality: Thanks to the versatility of disk, IT managers can further optimize BDR solutions by incorporating an array of useful features. For example, deduplication can help organizations save precious time and space by removing redundant data from the backup process.
3. Genuine Reliability: Any system can fail. But in the case of reliability, old school proponents can talk down on the cloud’s documented availability issues. Data protection technologies such as RAID and the ability to monitor every critical aspect in-house are a reliability boost.
Traditional Backup: Capacity And Longevity Concerns
The traditional way is compelling enough to support BDR needs well into the future. Carefully integrated into your IT environment, it can be a set it-and-forget it solution, easy to automate and even easier to manage. That said, what’s familiar is not always right. Cloud supporters can make a strong case against traditional solutions using the following points:
1. Capacity Woes: The biggest drawback to traditional systems – both disk and tape – is all the space they gobble up. The more data you have, the more real estate you need for both backup and storage. Capacity costs can be a major concern when considering that the ever looming threat of onsite disasters makes offsite storage a necessity.
2. Network Issues: Backup and recovery are among the many functions executed over corporate networks. SAN and NAS appliances can support storage needs. But constantly making sure you have the bandwidth to spare can make network planning quite the chore.
3. Longevity Concerns: Lack of archival qualities means disk must inevitably be coupled with tape, optical mediums, or other more permanent storage. For this reason, maintaining traditional systems can be costly for organizations with complex data storage needs.
Enter the Cloud
I personally prefer enterprise-grade products like ShadowProtect Desktop because well – I need the peace of mind that comes with complete system protection. But when I hear sob stories from fellow PC users who fear they’ve lost their data with no way to retrieve it, I recommend the cloud for backup and disaster recovery. Keeping it real here. The everyday Joe would be crazy not to seize all the free storage Internet giants like Google and Microsoft are dangling to draw the masses to their services.
Cloud computing oozes flexibility. It can facilitate backup and recovery in a variety of ways. For instance, some vendors offer file-level services that are ideal for SMBs with the need to backup and restore individual files and folders. Others specialize in image-based solutions that can save and restore an entire server in one go. As for recovery, data can be restored to local systems, virtual machines, and in some cases, even secondary cloud sites.
The Benefits Of Disaster Recovery Service
In addition to superior flexibility, disaster recovery service offers benefits such as:
Cost Efficiency: With no capital expenses to worry about, the cloud presents an affordable total cost of ownership that appeals to most budgets. What’s more, its predictable pricing model makes those costs easier to manage.
Enhanced Data Protection: The best DRaaS providers can deliver enterprise-grade security that is impressive on any level. Simply leveraging the cloud for supplemental means provides a huge boost to your data protection strategy.
Easy deployment: There is no software to install and minimal configurations. You can basically have your system up and running in minutes. As an added bonus, many disaster recovery service companies provide access to lightweight apps that let you connect, sync, and manage backups from a mobile device.
IT-Friendly Tech: The cloud is the ultimate cross-platform computing system. This means you can usually expect easy breezy integration with existing IT systems, applications, and devices.
Scalability and Elasticity: Theoretically, cloud computing eliminates the physical capacity issues that plague traditional systems. It’s scalable and agile, and that helps organizations adapt to business climate demands – even if it means scaling back on capacity.
Trade-offs Of Disaster Recovery ServiceIf there was ever a case where the cons outweighed the pros, anything cloud related might be it. Here are some trade-offs of disaster recovery service:
Performance Problems: The speed and overall performance of cloud-based BDR is entirely dependent on the provider’s Internet connection. No matter the cause, a slow connection can hinder daily backup strategies and put recovery objectives in jeopardy.
Questionable SLAs: Critical aspects such as performance and availability are almost impossible for cloud vendors to guarantee due to the very nature of the environment. As a result, the accuracy of their SLAs may always be a sensitive subject.
Security Concerns: Disaster recovery service companies typically use encryption to protect data as it travels to and rests on their servers. That’s great, but physical protection at the data center level, potential multi-tenancy issues, and the occasional cyber threat still makes cloud security quite the hassle.
Vendor Lock-in : This term has almost become synonymous with cloud computing. Migrating huge volumes of data comes with a large cost and incovenience. These could possibly force you to stay with a service provider that doesn’t fully satisfy your needs.
Making The Call:
Every technology comes with draws and flaws, and BDR models are no exception to the rule. The models discussed here can be the stepping stone to any business continuity plan. A clearcut winner can be crowned by looking at:
Network Implications: The evolution of network technologies means you can handle the most complex BDR projects entirely in-house. However, bandwidth and port capacity will ultimately dictate what you can support internally. Always keep network capabilities and impact in mind.
Personnel Roles: A disaster recovery service solution doesn’t completely absolve staff of their responsibilities. Consider how IT administration and user roles will be affected, in the event that third-party applications are integrated into your backup environment.
Existing Resources: Many organizations turn to managed services simply because they’re short on internal resources. You may have your answer after weighing each option against your existing staff, expertise, and time.
Retention Policies: Trying to hang on to every bit of data is actually costly. Firms learn this quickly, when factoring backups and storage into the equation. A review of retention policies, in this case, is mandatory. It can help you determine what model makes sense, in terms of backup frequency and recovery objectives.
Realistic Needs: Don’t adjust your strategy for the sake of adopting new trends. If you’re confident that your existing environment is both reliable and sustainable, then staying idle is probably the best bet for now. On the other hand, a dramatic shift in your business model or infrastructure could mean an overhaul is warranted. Only you know the real deal.
Embracing the Best of Both Worlds
Still on the fence about disaster recovery service or traditional backups? That’s okay, because the best decision may lie right down the middle. In a hybrid scenario, you go from relying on the cloud entirely to merely complement your existing environment. So if a disaster occurs onsite, you can recover your data from the cloud. Or if your vendor’s network is down, you can grab a copy of your data from a local device. It truly is the best of both worlds.