Governments See Viability of Disaster Recovery as a Service

IT leaders say DRaaS weans them off tape and provides flexibility and choice.

For the city of Avondale, Ariz., the ability to deploy Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) all starts with server virtualization.

“About 80 percent of our physical servers are virtualized,” says CIO Rob Lloyd. “This logical representation of a server simplifies moving computing resources around. We can copy and move portable instances in software.”

Avondale went live with VMware’s vCloud Air disaster recovery service last fall. The city now uses the service to maintain its human resources, financial and public safety records, which are now highly recoverable in the event of an outage.

48%

The percentage of organizations surveyed that say they are using Disaster Recovery as a Service in some form; 40% says they are either planning to use DRaaS or are interested in using it in the next 12 months

SOURCE: Enterprise Strategy Group, “The Evolving Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Landscape,” Fall 2015

Aaron Favata, the lead systems engineer for the project, says the portability vCloud Air offers has helped the city migrate off of tape. Previously, Avondale’s IT staff had to transport tapes to a nearby recovery facility. With the VMware service, the city can replicate and restore data via the cloud back to any number of VMware’s regional facilities.

“One of our goals is to have the ability to stand up the entire data center outside of the region,” Lloyd says. “The vCloud DRaaS gives us convenience, flexibility, testability and choice.”

Paul Hughes, IDC program director for storage and data management services, says DRaaS reduces costs and improves access to data and applications. “Many DRaaS providers offer self-service tools that provide high visibility and are easy to use, so it makes both business and economic sense for organizations to run DR in the cloud.”

Likewise, Jason Buffington, a senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group, notes that midsized organizations require better resiliency and can’t afford to build redundant facilities.

Why DRaaS is the Future

Phil Bertolini, CIO and deputy county executive for Oakland County, Mich., says the county plans to bring its DR operations closer to home at a colocation facility.

The county set up a direct fiber connection from its main data center facility for real-time redundancy, says Bertolini. While he hasn’t opted for DRaaS at this point, Bertolini says Oakland County will likely use that model as securing and pricing improves.

“We are seriously looking at Amazon Web Services for our future disaster recovery needs,” Bertolini adds. “It’s just going to make more sense for us to do DR in the cloud as we move forward.”

Eugenia Chaikina/Thinkstock
Sep 29 2015