‘always On' Disaster Recovery

Issue 20

Garry Sheriff, Managing Director of ITPS, explains the benefits of buying disaster recovery as a service.

The IT industry loves acronyms, and the current top spot is occupied by the phrase ‘Everything as a Service’ or EaaS. This simply describes a cloud-based computing service which operates like any other business utility so you only pay for what you use, when you use it. Sounds simple doesn’t it, but you do need to consider how it can be used intelligently to suit the needs of your business. One element of EaaS is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).

Although some organisations are still wary of cloud-based services, statistics from a survey of a thousand organisations in 2016 show that, as evidenced by our own client base, 82% of cloud users have a hybrid cloud strategy. This is a combination of public and private cloud, mixed where required with elements of on-premise solutions. This figure contrasts with 74% in 2014, and growth shows no sign of slowing.

If you are relatively new to cloud adoption and wary of having all your ICT delivered as a service where you are effectively renting computing power, storage and processors, you can test the water by breaking down your infrastructure into component parts. For instance you might opt for elements such as Software as a Service, or Disaster Recovery as a Service, and add to those as you start to realise the cost and efficiency benefits of cloud. We advise clients to use cloud for as much or as little of their infrastructure as they need.

As confidence in the cloud grows and thanks to a reputation as the North East’s leading ICT and data centre experts with 17 years of experience under our belts, we are finding an increasing number of clients turning to us for Disaster recovery as a Service (DRaaS). This is something that cloud can deliver very effectively, even if primary systems are not cloud-based.

DRaaS typically works by using two or more data centres, holding a snapshot of your systems and data at both physical locations to allow a quick and easy restore in the event of an interruption, business or system failure, and delivering stronger resilience and faster restore times. To achieve the same recovery time objective with an on-premise model you would need to invest in holding identical systems in two locations, which means paying out for extra hardware, software and applications. With DRaaS clients need only commit to what is needed to fulfil their needs.

We work with data-critical clients including the emergency services, financial institutions and baggage handling groups who entrust their ICT to cloud services which we deliver via our Cisco-approved and powered data centres. These are high security operations configured to exacting standards, protected by auditable security and staffed by specialists. Our business holds ISO27001 and ISO9001 certification, essential credentials when you need the confidence that your ICT partner can keep your systems, applications and data safe, secure and accessible from any location.

Constantly investing in the latest tools allows our clients to benefit from cost-effective, automated, enterprise-class DRaaS. If you will forgive a slight detour into tech-talk, one of those is our new vCloud solution, which represents many months of research and development work. This is the next generation in business continuity and data replication and disaster recovery solutions, specifically developed to support clients operating in virtualised environments and the cloud.

From your IT manager’s viewpoint, DRaaS helps you benefit from an extra layer of resilience, without having to pay for it. For example you might be running two virtualised servers in our data centres, but in the background we have another 20 servers running at your disposal if and when you need them. We use best of breed tools such as Zerto, which simplifies disaster recovery, reduces storage costs, orchestrates and automates the entire recovery process, and works with public, private and hybrid clouds.

The only way to make sure your disaster recovery plan really works is regular testing. Our tools give you self-service test, failover and assisted failback so you can test your plan whenever you want, as often as you want, while the built-in failover wizard alerts, reports on and guides the failover process.

Talk to our experts about how a cloud DRaaS solution, running in the background and always ready to be switched on if and when you need it, can benefit your business and help you get a better return on your IT budget.

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