The world of disaster recovery has made some quantum leaps over the last few years.
Cloud computing, in particular, is helping companies of all sizes migrate applications from on-site systems to hosted environments accessible through the Internet. The cloud is now enabling organizations to safeguard critical resources from potential disruptions — whether they be micro (e.g. human error, UPS battery failures, equipment failures, etc.) or macro (e.g., site-wide failures caused by natural disasters).
But, DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) changes the game and allows you to leverage the cloud or a paired offsite appliance to quickly boot up and virtualize critical applications in seconds to minutes (depending on the implementation) without spending an arm and a leg on expensive upfront hardware and extra infrastructure costs.
Disaster Recovery Trade-off Landscape: Costs vs. RTO
Historically, companies looking for on-demand (or hot site) failover were required to invest heavily upfront in capital equipment as well as ongoing operational expense (excluding the staff needed to run the operation following a disaster.) Based on recent research (source: Windstream Hosted Solutions), you can expect to spend more than $300,000 over the three-year life look to protect a minimum two terabytes of data stored on five mission-critical servers.
Worse still, $85k of this total expense needs to be paid upfront in capital equipment and infrastructure before your DR environment can even go live. And these costs can be driven significantly higher if you don’t have an IT team versed in DR recovery, leverage VMware extensively, or have an up-to-date and regularly tested recovery plan.
SMB Conundrum: On-demand Failover Too Expensive
Most small to medium-sized businesses simply cannot afford this price tag or have the internal IT resources to set up and manage this type of infrastructure. Instead, they’re relegated to a lower standard, however with technological advances that is quickly changing. Currently, standards force them to sacrifice recovery time for cost. So, let’s look at some of the current DR methodologies and their inherent tradeoffs.
In the graph below, the cost of traditional DR methodologies is plotted on the X axis and recovery time is shown on the Y axis, going from days to seconds.
With tape backup solutions, it may take days to recover your data, but it usually pretty inexpensive. Though it’s interesting to note that it really costs the average SMB about $14,000 to manage what was once considered an “inexpensive” method of tape backup and recovery when you factor in transportation costs and the costs of IT to manually back up to tape each day and then moves each day’s backup to an offsite location.
As you move up and to the left you gain speed and reliability, but you face different tradeoffs and limitations. With traditional backup appliances, you’re limited by the storage capacity of the box. This means once you fill it up, you need to buy another box, and so on and so on. And while these appliances are usually more reliable than tape for recovering files and folders, there were not designed for failing over systems or applications.
To quickly recover running applications, you move into the site failover realm. There are three flavors of second-site failover: cold, warm, and hot standby options where the secondary site acts as backup of another identical primary system. Definitions provided courtesy of Wikipedia:
- Cold Site Failover: A cold site is the least expensive type of backup site for an organization to operate. It does not include backed up copies of data and information from the original location of the organization, nor does it include hardware already set up. The lack of provisioned hardware contributes to the minimal start-up costs of the cold site, but requires additional time following the disaster to have the operation running at a capacity close to that prior to the disaster.
- Warm Site Failover: A warm site is a compromise between hot and cold. These sites will have hardware and connectivity already established, though on a smaller scale than the original production site or even a hot site. Warm sites might have backups on hand, but they may not be complete and may be between several days and a week old. The recovery will be delayed while backup tapes are delivered to the warm site, or network connectivity is established and data is recovered from a remote backup site
- Hot Site Failover: A hot site (like the one described in the scenario above) is a duplicate of the original site of the organization, with full computer systems as well as near-complete backups of user data. Real time synchronization between the two sites may be used to completely mirror the data environment of the original site using wide area network links and specialized software. Following a disruption to the original site, the hot site exists so that the organization can relocate with minimal losses to normal operations in the shortest recovery time.
DRaaS Nirvana: No More RTO Trade-offs
Today, instead of being relegated to some place on the cost/recovery time line, where you have to trade off cost for recovery time, you can actually achieve DRaaS nirvana by getting push-button failover and complete data protection for a little more than traditional tape backup.
Affordable Disaster Recovery as a Service is Real
Think back to the earlier scenario where you’re trying to protect 2 TBs of data across five servers. With Infrascale’s DRaaS solutions, the cost would be less than $30,000 – that’s a 10x cost savings — to deliver near real-time failover (measured in seconds to minutes). Plus, with most DRaaS solutions, you don’t have to plunk down a heavy upfront investment since you can pay on a monthly subscription basis and preserve valuable cash flow.
Disaster recovery is something every company should have access to. Gone are the days when only large companies had the resources to make it possible. Instant failover is achievable for any company.
Need help with your 2016 Disaster Recovery planning? Check out our Disaster Recovery Planning kit:
- ActualTech Media Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) 2015 Attitudes and Adoption Report
- George Crump’s DRaaS Buyer’s Guide: 5 Must Ask Questions
- Infrascale Cloud Failover Appliance Datasheet
- Tech Brief: Infrascale Cloud Failover Appliance
- Infographic: Top 25 DR Statistics