Category Archives: DRaaS

6 Key Questions When Considering a DRaaS Solution

Questions When Considering a DRaaS Solution

I recently sat down with our very own Tim Ferris—Solutions Architect, Yankees fan (don’t hold that against him 🙂 and DRaaS Guru. We talked about some of the common questions customers ask when considering DRaaS and the common themes Tim sees when helping customers plan and implement DRaaS solutions. Check out our conversation below about the key questions when considering a DRaaS solution. 

  1. Does your company really need a DRaaS solution?

There are a variety of reasons why a DRaaS solution isn’t always the best fit for an organization. Depending on the type of business, an offsite disaster recovery strategy might not be a great match if the business is site dependent.  Another factor is the cost consideration. Companies need to make the business determination if disaster recovery is something that’s strategic for the company to invest in vs. putting the cost into purchasing a powerful insurance policy.

  1. How are DRaaS solutions priced?

Traditionally a huge barrier to offsite DR adoption has been price, however, DRaaS makes DR and the supporting infrastructure much more affordable and attractive to companies. DRaaS cloud billing and pricing is still a challenge though because pricing models vary widely across different companies. This can be a huge point of contention and another reason to use a solution provider who can model out true cost comparisons and estimates across various cloud partners.

  1. Is your company ready to embrace a modern DRaaS strategy?

For many traditional IT organizations, the move to DRaaS can be intimidating since you’re moving your DR environment off-site to a third party. You may also be concerned about losing data stewardship and need to understand the differences that living on a shared infrastructure can pose. In addition, there are some applications that require physical dependencies and can’t be handled by virtual DRaaS, so evaluating your application portfolio is crucial. Finally, eliminating most of your capex cost and turning it into a monthly recurring cost can be valuable to many companies.

  1. How simple is it to implement a DRaaS solution?

There’s a lot of marketing hype around this idea that DRaaS solutions are very simple: “Buy our DRaaS solution and we’ll have you up in an hour!” While many providers can technically get the DRaaS framework up quickly, there are a lot of variables that are unique to each company. (See #5) Because DRaaS is not one-size-fits-all, many companies work with IT solution providers (like GreenPages) to help create and implement a DR migration plan and implementation strategy. Compounding the issue is that the DRaaS solution provider market is very crowded so it can be challenging to navigate the options—it’s important to choose based on your company’s specific requirements.

Tweet This: “Because DRaaS is not one-size-fits-all, many companies work with IT solution providers to help create and implement a DR migration plan and implementation strategy.” via @GreenPagesIT

  1. What sorts of barriers or common problems will I encounter?

You must make sure as an organization that you have created a business impact analysis and overarching disaster requirements before someone can come in and implement the technical solution. Another prerequisite is understanding the interdependencies of all your applications so that you aren’t just replicating VMs, but are protecting business solutions and applications critical to the company. While ongoing management isn’t a barrier to DRaaS, the testing can be challenging no matter what DR solution you implement. (See #6).

  1. Can’t I just have a backup solution rather than a DRaaS solution?

Most companies do have a backup solution but not always a practical DR plan. Restoring from backup tape could take from days to weeks to restore. A true DRaaS system would provide you with recovery within minutes to hours. Backup is vitally important, but you may need the combination of backup with DRaaS to restore your systems properly as these systems can complement each other. Another important thing to keep in mind is that many companies do have a DR plan but have never tested it. Without testing, it’s not a plan, it’s just a theory. In addition, you will learn plenty of helpful and interesting information when you test your plan. Most important, you don’t want to learn that your DRaaS plan was faulty on the day you push the DR button due to an actual emergency.

Tweet This: “Most importantly, you don’t want to learn that your DRaaS plan was faulty on the day you push the DR button due to an actual emergency. ” Tim Ferris, @GreenPagesIT

Thanks for checking out our blog post! If you have any more questions about implementing DRaaS or would like to speak to a technologist, please reach out to us or click below.

By Jake Cryan, Digital Marketing Specialist

Is the Cloud Right for You?

I recently presented a session entitled, “Is the Cloud Right for You?” with Randy Weis and wanted to provide a recap of the things I covered in the presentation. In this video, I discuss some of the advantages of cloud including the access to enterprise class hardware that you might not normally be able to afford, load balancers, multiple data centers, redundancy, automation and more. I also cover some of the risks associated with the cloud. Enjoy, and as always, reach out with any questions!


Download eBook: The Evolution of the Corporate IT Department


By Chris Chesley, Solutions Architect

Is the Cloud Right for You?

I recently presented a session entitled, “Is the Cloud Right for You?” with Randy Weis and wanted to provide a recap of the things I covered in the presentation. In this video, I discuss some of the advantages of cloud including the access to enterprise class hardware that you might not normally be able to afford, load balancers, multiple data centers, redundancy, automation and more. I also cover some of the risks associated with the cloud. Enjoy, and as always, reach out with any questions!

Download eBook: The Evolution of the Corporate IT Department

By Chris Chesley, Solutions Architect

4 Ways SMBs Can Take Advantage of the Cloud

While cloud adoption among SMBs continues to rise, there are still plenty of SMB customers I speak with who are reluctant to take advantage of what the cloud has to offer. Below are four examples of how cloud adoption can help SMBs excel.

Access to Enterprise Class Features

The cloud gives SMBs access to enterprise class features that many couldn’t normally take advantage of. Geo-location and load balancing are both great examples. If an SMB puts its website up on Microsoft Azure, a click of a button can put 3 copies locally and also put 3 copies in 3 different geographical locations automatically. This way if something happened at one of the locations, all of the is data already at another data center ready to spin up. Doing this without utilizing the cloud would be extremely costly and quite unrealistic for the budgets of most SMB organizations.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

DRaaS is a cost effective insurance policy for SMBs. Instead of having to buy and maintain separate servers, SAN, storage, network, firewall, rack space, etc. I can take my backups and load them up to the cloud (Azure, vCloud Air, Cirrity, etc.). This gives me a way to have infrastructure fail over in the event of a disaster. SMBs that go this route can pay less per month to have this available than it would be buy on-prem equipment. Buying the equipment may mean that you aren’t using all of it as well.

Desktops in the Cloud

Another way SMBs can use the cloud is to host desktops. Doing this means you don’t have to buy or maintain desktops and allows for greater scalability. There are plenty of companies where users change a lot so internal IT is tasked with adding or removing users on a fairly regular basis. This means they have desktops that they need to build out manually. By hosting your desktops in the cloud, you can automatically spin up or down when needed. This not only provides cost savings, but will also save your IT department a significant amount of time.

Application Scalability

If you are running, say, Microsoft Azure, you can set Azure to utilization between 25-75% of CPU. When utilization gets above 75%, Azure is going to automatically turn up more servers and load balance them. If utilization dips below 25%, it will decommission servers. This allows for automatic scaling based on user activity. Doing this traditionally is much more expensive and in many cases not possible for SMB’s.

The bottom line is SMBs should take a closer look at cloud options that can increase efficiencies and drive down costs. If you would like to talk about this in more detail, please reach out. I’d love to have a conversation!

The corporate IT department is evolving. Has yours kept pace?

By Chris Chesley, Solutions Architect

Lessons from the Holborn fire: how disaster recovery as a service helps with business continuity

Disaster recovery is creeping up on the priority list for enterprises

Disaster recovery is creeping up on the priority list for enterprises

The recent fire in Holborn highlighted an important lesson in business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) planning: when a prompt evacuation is necessary ‒ whether because of a fire, flood or other disaster ‒ you need to be able to relocate operations without advance notice.

The fire, which was caused by a ruptured gas main, led to the evacuation of 5,000 people from nearby buildings, and nearly 2,000 customers experienced power outages. Some people lost Internet and mobile connectivity as well.

While firefighters worked to stifle the flames, restaurants and theatres were forced to turn away patrons and cancel performances, with no way to preserve their revenue streams. The numerous legal and financial firms in the area, at least, had the option to relocate their business operations. Some did, relying on cloud-based services to resume their operations remotely. But those who depended on physical resources on-site were, like the restaurants and theatres, forced to bide their time while the fire was extinguished.

These organisations’ disparate experiences reveals the increasing role of cloud-based solutions ‒ particularly disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions ‒ in BC/DR strategies.

The benefits of DRaaS

Today, an increasing number of businesses are turning to the cloud for disaster recovery. The DRaaS market is expected to experience a compounded annual growth rate of 55.2 per cent from 2013 to 2018, according to global research company MarketsandMarkets.

The appeal of DRaaS solutions is that they provide the ability to recover key IT systems and data quickly, which is crucial to meeting your customers’ expectations for high availability. To meet these demands within the context of a realistic recovery time frame, you should establish two recovery time objectives (RTOs): one for operational issues that are specific to your individual environment (e.g., a server outage) and another for regional disasters (e.g., a fire). RTOs for operational issues are typically the most aggressive (0-4 hours). You have a bit more leeway when dealing with disasters affecting your facility, but RTOs should ideally remain under 24 hours.

DRaaS solutions’ centralised management capabilities allow the provider to assist with restoring not only data but your entire IT environment, including applications, operating systems and systems configurations. Typically systems can be restored to physical hardware, virtual machines or another cloud environment. This service enables faster recovery times and eases the burden on your in-house IT staff by eliminating the need to reconfigure your servers, PCs and other hardware when restoring data and applications. In addition, it allows your employees to resume operations quickly, since you can access the environment from anywhere with a suitable Internet connection.

Scalability is another key benefit of DRaaS solutions. According to a survey by 451 Research, the amount of data storage professionals manage has grown from 215 TB in 2012 to 285 TB in 2014. To accommodate this storage growth, companies storing backups in physical servers have to purchase and configure additional servers. Unfortunately, increasing storage capacity can be hindered by companies’ shrinking storage budgets and, in some cases, lack of available rack space.

DRaaS addresses this issue by allowing you to scale your storage space as needed. For some businesses, the solution is more cost-effective than dedicated on-premise data centres or colocation solutions, because cloud providers typically charge only for the capacity used. Redundant data elimination and compression maximise storage space and further minimise cost.

When data needs to be maintained on-site

Standard DRaaS delivery models are able to help many businesses meet their BC/DR goals, but what if your organisation needs to keep data or applications on-site? Perhaps you have rigorous RTOs for specific data sets, and meeting those recovery time frames requires an on-premise backup solution. Or maybe you have unique applications that are difficult to run in a mixture of physical and virtual environments. In these cases, your business can leverage a hybrid DRaaS strategy which allows you to store critical data in an on-site appliance, offloading data to the cloud as needed.

You might be wondering, though, what happens to the data stored in an appliance in the event that you have to evacuate your facility. The answer depends on the type of service the vendor provides for the appliance. If you’re unable to access the appliance, recovering the data would require you to either access an alternate backup stored at an off-site location or wait until you regain access to your facility, assuming it’s still intact. For this reason, it’s important to carefully evaluate potential hybrid-infrastructure DRaaS providers.

DRaaS as part of a comprehensive BC/DR strategy

In order for DRaaS to be most effective for remote recovery, the solution must be part of a comprehensive BC/DR strategy. After all, what good is restored data if employees don’t have the rest of the tools and information they need to do their jobs? These additional resources could include the following:

•         Alternate workspace arrangements

•         Provisions for backup Internet connectivity

•         Remote network access solutions

•         Guidelines for using personal devices

•         Backup telephony solution

The Holborn fire was finally extinguished 36 hours after it erupted, but not before landing a blow on the local economy to the tune of £40 million. Businesses using cloud services as part of a larger business continuity strategy, however, were able to maintain continuity of operations and minimise their lost revenue. With the right resources in place, evacuating your building doesn’t have to mean abandoning your business.

By Matt Kingswood, head of managed services, IT Specialists (ITS)

Disaster Recovery as a Service: Does it make sense for you?

Does disaster recovery as a service make sense for your organization? It is oftentimes more cost effective and less of a headache than traditional disaster recovery options. As the importance of information infrastructure and applications grows, disaster recovery continues to become more and more critical to a company’s success. In this video, I break down the benefits of Disaster Recovery as a Service and discuss how you go about finding a solution that fits your needs. Benefits include:

  • You can get up and running in almost no time. Decrease implementation time from between 6 months-1 year down to 1 month or even a few weeks.
  • Shift from CapEx to OpEx
  • More affordable
  • No hardware refreshes
  • No software support

If you’re interested in learning more about Disaster Recovery as a Service and how it could impact your organization, reach out!


Disaster Recovery as a Service: Does it make sense for you?



By Randy Weis, Practice Manager, Information Infrastructure

10 Storage Predictions for 2014

By Randy Weis, Consulting Architect, LogicsOne

As we wrap up 2013 and head into the New Year, I wanted to give 10 predictions I have for the storage market for 2014.

  1. DRaaS will be the hottest sector of cloud-based services: Deconstructing cloud means breaking out specific services that fit a definition of a cloud type service such as Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and other specialized and targeted usages of shared multi-tenant computing and storage services. Capital expenditures, time to market, and staff training are all issues that prevent companies from developing a disaster recovery strategy and actually implementing it. I predict that DRaaS will be the hottest sector of cloud based services for small to medium businesses and commercial companies. This will impact secondary storage purchases.
  2. Integration of flash storage technology will explode: The market for flash storage is maturing and consolidating. EMC has finally entered into the market. Cisco has purchased Whiptail to integrate it into unified computing systems. PCI flash, server flash drives at different tiers of performance and endurance, hybrid flash arrays, and all flash arrays will all continue to drive the adoption of solid state storage in mainstream computing.
  3. Storage virtualization – software defined storage on the rise: VMware is going to make their virtual VSAN technology generally available at the beginning of Q2 in 2014. This promises to create a brand new tier of storage in datacenters for virtual desktop solutions, disaster recover, and other specific use cases. EMC is their first release of a software defined storage product called ViPR. It has a ways to go before it really begins to address software defined storage requirements, but it is a huge play in the sense that it validates a segment of the market that has long had a miniscule share. DataCore has been the only major player in this space for 15 years. They see EMC’s announcement as a validation of their approach to decoupling storage management and software from the commodity hard drives and proprietary array controllers.
  4. Network Attached Storage (NAS) Revolution: We’re undergoing a revolution with the integration and introduction of scale out NAS technologies. One of the most notable examples is Isilon being purchased by EMC and starting to appear as a more fully integrated and fully available solution with a wide variety of applications. Meanwhile NetApp continues to innovate in the traditional scale up NAS market with increasing adoption of ONTAP 8.x. New NAS systems feature support of the most recent releases SMB 3.0, Microsoft’s significant overhaul of Windows-based file sharing protocol (also known as CIFS). This has a significant impact on design Hyper V Storage and Windows file sharing in general. Client and server side failover are now possible with SMB 3.0, which enables the kind of high availability and resiliency for Hyper V that VMware has enjoyed as a competitive advantage.
  5. Mobile Cloud Storage – File Sharing Will Never Be the Same: Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Huddle and other smartphone-based methods to access data anywhere are revolutionizing the way individual consumers access their data. This creates security headaches for IT admins, but the vendors are responding with better and better security built into their products. At the enterprise level, Syncplicity, Panzura, Citrix ShareFile, Nasuni and other cloud storage and shared storage technologies are providing deep integration into Active Directory and enabling transfer of large files across long distances quickly and securely. These technologies integrate with on premise NAS systems and cloud storage. Plain and simple, file sharing will never be the same again.
  6. Hyper Converged Infrastructure Will Be a Significant Trend: The market share dominance of Nutanix, Simplivity (based in Westborough, MA) and VMware’s VSAN technology will all change the way shared storage is viewed in datacenters of every size. These products will not replace the use of shared storage arrays but, instead, provide an integrated, flexible and modular way to scale virtualized application deployments, such as VDI and virtual servers. These technologies all integrate compute & storage, networking (at different levels) and even data protection technology, to eliminate multiple expenditures and multiple points of management. Most importantly, Hyper-converged Infrastructure will allow new deployments to begin small and then scale out without large up-front purchases. This will not work for every tier of application or every company, but it will be a significant trend in 2014.
  7. Big Data Will Spread Throughout Industries: Big Data has become as much a buzzword as cloud. The actual use of the technologies that we call big data is growing rapidly. This adoption is not only in internet giants like Google and companies that track online behavior, but also in industries such as insurance, life sciences, and retailers. Integration of big data technologies (i.e. Hadoop, MapReduce) with more traditional SQL database technology allows service providers of any type to extract data from traditional databases and begin processing it on a huge scale more efficiently and more quickly, while still gaining the advantage of more structured databases. This trend will continue to spread throughout many industries that need to manage large amount of structured and unstructured data.
  8. Object based storage will grow: Cloud storage will be big news for 2014 for two major reasons. The first reason stems from shock waves of Nirvanix going out of business. Corporate consumers of cloud storage will be much more cautious and demand better SLAs in order to hold cloud storage providers accountable. The second reason has to do with adoption of giant, geographically dispersed data sets. Object based storage has been a little known, but important, development in storage technology that allows data sets on scale of petabytes to be stored and retrieved by people who generate data and those who consume it. However, these monstrous data sets can’t be protected by traditional RAID technologies. Providers such as Cleversafe have developed a means to spread data across multiple locations, preserving its integrity and improving resiliency while continuing to scale to massive amounts.
  9. More Data Growth: This may seem redundant, but it is predicted that business data will double every two years. While this may seem like great news for traditional storage vendors, it is even better news for people who provide data storage on a massive scale, and for those technology firms that enable mobile access to that data anywhere while integrating well with existing storage systems. This exponential data growth will lead to advances in file system technologies, object storage integration, deduplication, high capacity drives and storage resource/lifecycle management tool advances.
  10. Backup and Data Protection Evolution + Tape Will Not Die: The data protection market continues to change rapidly as more servers and applications are virtualized or converted to SaaS. Innovations in backup technology include the rapid rise of Veeam as a dominant backup and replication technology – not only for businesses but also for service providers. The Backup as a Service market seems to have stalled out because feature sets are limited; however the appliance model for backups and backup services continue to show high demand. The traditional market leaders face very strong competition from the new players and longtime competitor CommVault. CommVault has evolved to become a true storage resources management play and is rapidly gaining market share as an enterprise solution. Data deduplication has evolved from appliances such as Data Domain into a software feature set that’s included in almost every backup software out there. CommVault, Veeam, Backup Exec, and others all have either server side deduplication or client side deduplication (or both). The appliance model for disk-spaced backups continues to be popular with Data Domain, ExaGrid, and Avamar as leading examples. EMC dominates this market share – the competition is still trying to capture market share. Symantec has even entered the game with its own backup appliances, which are essentially servers preconfigured with their popular software and internal storage. Tape will not die. Long term, long capacity archives still require use of tapes, primarily for economic reasons. The current generation of tape technology, such as LTO6, can contain up to 6 TB of data on a single tape. Tape drives are routinely made with built-in encryption to avoid data breaches that were more common in the past with unencrypted tape.


So there you have it, my 2014 storage predictions. What do you think? Which do you agree with/disagree with? Did I leave anything off that you think will have a major impact next year? As always, reach out if you have any questions!