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Comparing common disaster recovery options

31 March 2017

What should a disaster recovery solution provide? At a fundamental level, it should ensure that an organization can respond nimbly and effectively to an incident such as a fire, flood or server malfunction affecting your critical IT infrastructures. The downtime and lost productivity associated with such disasters can be considerable:

  • The Rand Group has estimated that a single hour of downtime costs most companies at least $100,000. In a world of largely stagnant IT budgets - a Spiceworks customer survey revealed only modest expected increases in spending between 2016 and 2017 - this is money that most companies cannot afford to lose.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses are particularly exposed to the risks of downtime. IT research firm Gartner once found that barely more than a third - 35 percent - of SMBs have a disaster recovery plan in place. Many firms do not survive the loss of revenue and reputation that stem from an IT-related disaster.
  • The causes of downtime are becoming more varied, creating the need for sophisticated, multi-pronged disaster recovery strategies. In addition to failures in uninterruptible power supplies, organizations now also have to worry about cybercrime, such as distributed denial-of-service attacks. Cybercrime caused only 2 percent of outages in 2010, but rose to 22 percent in 2016.

For decision-makers in IT, disaster recovery should be the reliable fallback option when anything from a DDoS campaign to a tornado hits. But discovering the right DR solution can sometimes be a difficult process, since there are choices to be made between traditional (i.e., on-premises) and cloud-based DR, and between standby and replicated DR platforms.

With these considerations in mind, let's look at how you can select a DR package that fits all of your core requirements:

Traditional versus cloud DR: Weighing the pros and cons

A legacy approach to DR will entail using onsite resources, typically magnetic tape. Tape has several key advantages, including a low total cost of ownership along with excellent reliability. Moreover, it is familiar, predictable technology, having been in use for nearly a century. The downsides can be deal breakers, however: Recovery via tape-based DR may take many hours to complete, during which critical resources may be unavailable and opportunity costs (e.g., lost business) could mount.

A reliable data center is the foundation for cloud DR.A reliable data center is the foundation for cloud DR.

Cloud DR has become a popular alternative to tape, especially for SMBs. The key infrastructures are parked at remote sites, thus saving critical office and data center space that customers can put toward purposes other than supporting DR systems. Under a cloud computing model, end users are billed only for the IT resources they use, which is a major perk in the case of DR, since the solution only needs to spring into action as specific moments.

The rise of managed and cloud-based DR services has been swift. Markets and Markets has estimated the disaster recovery-as-a-service was worth $1.68 billion in 2016 but could expand at a 46 percent compound annual growth rate between 2016 and 2020, eventually exceeding $11 billion in value. Potential cloud DR customers should check on the security mechanisms of any solution beforehand.

Standby versus replicated DR: Which one is right for your situation?

These two distinct types of cloud DR offer slightly different feature sets that are worth analyzing before you go all in on virtualizing your DR system:

Standby DR
This form of DR can be activated for little to no upfront fee and only a commitment to a pay-as-you-go business model. It utilizes a multi-tenant private cloud architecture, securely hosted in an offsite Tier III-or-higher data center and safely reachable from anywhere. Multiple tiers of service are available for a wide range of budgetary constraints and service level agreements governing recovery objectives. 24/7 service and support also ensure that customers have the best possible restoration experiences.

"Multiple tiers of service are available for a wide range of budgetary constraints and service level agreements."

Replicated DR
Replicated DR shares many essential features with standby DR, albeit with the added benefit of instant failover, which makes it particularly good for mission-critical applications. Fully compliant with SSAE 16 (SOC-2), it provides a safe, high-performance solution suitable for larger enterprises. Systems, apps, networks and data can be swiftly recovered using a regularly patched replicated DR platform such as UbiStor SafeHost DR.

Taking the new step on your disaster recovery journey

Having a dependable DR solution in place is more important than ever, in light of the steep costs of downtime and the growing need to support applications across multiple locations. UbiStor provides both standby and replicated cloud DR so that you can get a platform that fulfills the particular requirements of your organization. Learn more today by visiting our main virtual DR page, and contact us directly with any questions or concerns.


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