Disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS), in my opinion, is one of the most exciting areas I look at. To me, using the cloud for disaster recovery (DR) purposes makes perfect sense: the cloud is an on-demand resource that you pay for as you need it (i.e., during a disaster or testing). Up until now, there haven't been many solutions out there that truly offered DRaaS–replicating physical or virtual servers to the cloud and the ability to failover production to the cloud provider's environment (you can read more about my definition of DRaaS in my recent TechRadar report), but so far today, we've seen TWO new DRaaS platforms announced from VMware and SunGard! Here's a quick roundup of what was announced today:

  • VMware. VMware announced at VMworld that they will be making their popular Site Recovery Manager (SRM), a DR automation tool, available as a service through hosting and cloud partners. At launch, participating partners are FusionStorm, Hosting.com, iland, and Veristor.  Benefits: Built into the VMware platform. Limitations: VMware specific.
  • SunGard. SunGard is announcing its Recover2Cloud services which leverages asynchronous replication or backup to send data to the SunGard cloud. Recovery time objectives range from 15 minutes to 24 hours depending on the service-level and method of protection. Benefits: works with physical OR virtual servers. Limitations: recovery is not as automated as with SRM, but SunGard manages everything for you.

Why infrastructure & operations folks should care: DRaaS has the potential to make your DR implementations less expensive and more automated. Enterprises should be taking a close look at their open-systems business-critical (i.e., Tier II or mid-tier) applications to see if they would be a good candidate for DRaaS. DRaaS most likely won't work for all of your applications, but it can be a powerful tool in your continuity portfolio. Be aware that like fixed-site DR services, most DRaaS providers will likely oversubscribe their customers so recovery will be on a first-come, first-served basis for widespread disasters. The benefit to you, of course, is that drives your costs down.

What are your thoughts? Would you use DRaaS? Why or why not?