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Why has the demand for disaster recovery always existed? It’s because even though data is not accounted for on the balance sheet, data is valuable. And the value of data has risen exponentially, becoming the lifeblood of organizations. Disaster recovery is a key component in protecting the value of data as an asset for the business. In this post, I’ll discuss the historical problems behind disaster recovery and how it is now cost effective, simple and easy.
Historically, the problem with disaster recovery was that it was just really difficult – expensive, complicated, and hard to achieve. The early replication technology could hardly accommodate the variety of hardware. Remember when every server had a dozen critical component drivers and two servers purchased only a few months apart had entirely different driver sets? Even if you managed to have a standard hardware platform with exactly the same configuration and firmware, you still had to find an identical set of hardware for a recovery site or you risked a (highly likely) failure during a crisis. The DR solutions were prohibitively expensive and rarely worked – certainly not at scale or with any order of complexity. Then along came virtualization with driver emulators, shared resources, and scalable infrastructure. This helped disaster recovery become cost effective, simple and easy.
There is a direct correlation between the growing popularity of disaster recovery and cloud economics. Fifteen years ago, disaster planning was like having to buy a second car, along with a garage to keep it in and paying for oil changes, maintenance, etc. even though you weren’t using it. Now, disaster recovery is like auto insurance, where you and others share a pool of resources that funds a new car should someone in the pool lose theirs. If you have a service provider, you get to leverage this economy of scale.
The market has made disaster recovery simpler than ever before. Why is that? Cloud. That equivocal word. Let’s be specific – with it came hardware emulation, software abstraction from the underlying hardware, and suddenly resources became software. Your server is now a file. How easy is it to copy a file? Furthermore, the maturation of virtualization has made the technology needed for disaster recovery increasingly more reliable, faster and scalable. These factors have driven complexity out and made it possible to design a simple disaster recovery solution.
Thanks to these business drivers and the changes in technology, there is demand for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DraaS). More and more people are turning to a managed service provider to handle their complex infrastructure needs. What was once a massive orchestration of events, scripts, people, and services is now boiled down to a few clicks that make it easy to test any time, fail over with confidence, and know the status of your DRaaS environment in real time. CEOs and boards everywhere now recognize the economics, reliability and scalability of cloud technology, and see it as a powerful business continuity tool. If you can sell DRaaS to your board (remember the value of your data), chances are, you’ll get what you need to protect your business when you experience the darkest day.
Cloud economics and virtualization have driven service providers to enable simple, easy DRaaS solutions. It’s brought the concept into market equilibrium, making costs palatable. The next stage is becoming a key component of IT-as-a-Service, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.