Essential Guide

Expect the unexpected with a solid cloud DR strategy

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Why Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) changes the game for SMBs

In this weekly podcast, our editors discuss how cloud is making disaster recovery, in the form of DR as a Service (DRaaS), more accessible to SMBs.

Disaster recovery has been one of those IT services that divides the haves from the have-nots. The latter category includes most -- though certainly not all -- small and medium-sized businesses. Can a venture capitalist office with a staff of 25 afford its own DR infrastructure or fully managed DR services? Most likely. But a dentist's office with four employees? Definitely not.

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Yet the cloud is making disaster recovery (DR), in the form of DR as a Service (DRaaS), more accessible to this segment of the market that is attracted to the idea of only using as much as they pay for -- and only when they need it. That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will start breaking down cloud providers' doors demanding DRaaS.

In this week-in-review podcast, site editor Jessica Scarpati and news writer Gina Narcisi dig into what's new on SearchCloudProvider.com for the week of Sept. 17. Tune in as they review the following topics:

The following is a transcript of the podcast.

Jessica Scarpati: You're listening to CloudCast Weekly, a podcast by SearchCloudProvider.com. I'm Jessica Scarpati, site editor of SearchCloudProvider.com, and with me in the podcast studio today is our news writer Gina Narcisi. Gina, thank you as always for joining us.

Gina Narcisi: Thanks for having me, Jessica.

Scarpati: We're here to give you a quick rundown of everything that's new on the site this week. Gina, why don't you tell us about your news.

Narcisi: For this week, I wrote an article about the SMB market and how Disaster Recovery as a Service is sort of making disaster recovery an option for SMBs who may be ... It was falling by the wayside before. SMBs are used to backing up their data, but disaster recovery has been a little bit of a different story. But the cloud is starting to make that possible.

I spoke with a couple analysts and also a couple cloud providers. One of them, Vision Solutions, is offering DR as a Service particularly to the SMB market. They offer two different solutions. One is called Double-Take Availability, and one's called Double-Take Recover. Availability is a more expensive option, whereas Double-Take Recover, it may take a few hours instead of minutes to recover data.

Both are good for the SMB, but when I spoke to the analysts, they were talking about how gearing your disaster recovery solution towards an SMB really has to do with marketing. There's not really big technology differences behind it. The equipment's still the same. It's just what's more acceptable for large enterprises. They can't have a lot of downtime. They might need to recover in a few minutes, and they might need these really critical applications to be there at all times. They can't any type of downtime and there's SLAs involved. With an SMB, you're not really going to run into that.

Disaster recovery is now an option. It's on a smaller scale, if you will, than it would be for a large enterprise.

Scarpati: It sounds like ... Was cost a big barrier to entry for them?

Narcisi: Exactly. Traditional DR, that's kind of what scares them off because it takes so much upfront to really get into it but cloud is on-demand, so it's looking more appealing.

Scarpati: Before we came down here, I actually was looking over some survey results that TechTarget did. They had recently surveyed about 1500 IT professionals about their attitudes toward the use of cloud services and their general feelings on it. They asked what services people were using in the public cloud or the public portion of their hybrid cloud. It turned out that 17% of them are using it for DR as a Service. That kind of sounded close to me like you were saying in the story that the uptake for DR as a Service just hasn't really taken off yet.

It was interesting because we also had a breakdown by company size. The small business group was definitely above average. I think it was 21%. They were using DR as a Service. The mid-sized companies were a little lower, 12%, but the sample size that we had for that group wasn't as big. Large enterprises were down at 13%. It sounds like if this cost barrier is removed and if there's more flexible options, that this might pick up in the SMB market.

Narcisi: Exactly. It's something that cloud providers could potentially look into, because maybe it's a market that they didn't even know they could have. Also, SMBs, this is an option for them as well.

Scarpati: There was something else in there about bundling and how that might make this a little more attractive. What's that about?

Narcisi: I spoke to one of my analysts who said that an SMB, chances are, they are not going to come to their cloud providers and start asking about DR as a Service. It's just not the way it's happening. For cloud providers, a good way to sort of get them more comfortable with DR is to actually bundle it along with other services that SMBs might be already using and offering that as a little bit of a package deal, give them certain applications and then also say, "Oh, hey we're going to back this up." Now all of the sudden you have some DR in there as well. It's kind of like a baby step sort of.

Scarpati: Gina, thank you as always for joining us.

Narcisi: Thank you, Jessica.

Scarpati: We've heard the cloud market compared to a lot of things, but here's a new one: the California Gold Rush. When news spread in the mid-1800's about the discovery of gold in California, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the West Coast to make their fortunes. Is the same thing happening with cloud providers hoping to make a quick buck by selling any and everything as a service? According to Frost & Sullivan's Lynda Stadtmueller, yes and no. That is, yes, cloud providers are flooding the market but, no, they're not necessarily striking gold everywhere they look.

A recent Frost & Sullivan survey showed that a mere 15% of U.S. businesses have adopted cloud infrastructure services and even then they use them intermittently. It seems that cloud adopters are far outnumbered by cloud skeptics. Lynda explains that 40% of U.S. businesses claim to understand cloud computing but they're unwilling to adopt it.

These folks aren't looking for an education. They've suffered through webinars, PowerPoints, brochures and sales calls. When it comes to the wonders of the cloud, they just don't buy it literally and figuratively. You can't convert every skeptic into a true believer, but there are three big areas where cloud providers can chip away at some of the resistance. Check out Lynda's piece, "Cloud Computing Trends: Three Reasons Skeptics Aren't Adopting the Cloud," to find out how to break through these adoption barriers.

That is all that we have for this week. Be sure to check out all the articles we talked about and more on SearchCloudProvider.com. Thanks again, and we'll see you next week.

This was first published in September 2012

Essential Guide

Expect the unexpected with a solid cloud DR strategy

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