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Disaster Recovery for the digital age


Article Type: Interview          Published: 03-2016         Views: 7626      

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Matthew Parker, MD of Backup Technology - the specialist backup division of UK Cloud hosting solutions provider iomart - speaks to Cloud Hosting magazine editor David Tyler about the company's recently launched ClouDRaaS service

David Tyler: Let's start with the obvious question: what exactly is ClouDRaaS, and what are its benefits?
Matthew Parker: ClouDRaaS is a new 'one click' Disaster Recovery service which offers cost-effective, automated, DR for all sizes of business. We believe it's the first disaster recovery service to solve the problem of production-ready DR in one simple click. ClouDRaaS makes effective DR possible within the private Cloud, to the public Cloud and in the public Cloud. It delivers robust block-level replication and offsite backup in one simple product with 'one click' recovery and rollback of your applications. It means - and this is particularly important for the enterprise - that you can 'test the water' without giving up control over your production applications in your own data centres.

By being array- and hypervisor-agnostic, it replicates any environment regardless of your storage vendor or your architecture and enables replication and migration to public Cloud services such as AWS. The customer gets to choose the Cloud DR environment they want to use.

It's also incredibly quick and can be installed remotely within a couple of hours without requiring any changes to your environment. It can be tested and validated at any time and applications can be recovered with one click of a button. You can pick the specific applications to protect, regardless of what server they're on. There's simple pricing so you can automatically see the benefits and there's certified annual managed invocation testing which will keep your compliance people happy.

DT: The service is based on hypervisor-based replication software; what is the thinking behind that approach?
MP: One of the big problems for large organisations is how to manage the incredible amount of data they are creating. Traditionally some poor guy in the IT department changes tapes every night and if there's a problem has to go and find the right tape to restore which can lead to hours of downtime and loss of data. Equally even in a Cloud environment the problem of VM sprawl means you can be managing hundreds of virtual machines using manual processes which can be a huge IT headache - particularly when a disaster strikes.

Our ClouDRaaS service provides a really simple automated solution which does away with snapshots so you get instant DR that never impacts performance, with RPOs of seconds and RTOs of minutes. By designing it around reducing complexity and speed of service we believe we have the means to help businesses protect and recover their data from a virtual Cloud environment safely, quickly and efficiently. DT: So there's a real - and measurable - business case for this approach? MP: Absolutely. When you look at the cost of unplanned downtime it can be crippling. For an e-commerce business it can mean the loss of £1000s per minute in sales, whereas for the likes of legal or financial companies there's the whole issue of compliance as well as the resulting loss of confidence and trust in your services.

When you add in the faster recovery times and better recovery points you can achieve, even in a smaller organisation the cost benefits can be huge. For instance, we did a cash-only comparison of what using ClouDRaaS would mean for a smallish local authority recently and even just looking at the monetary side the savings amounted to almost £150,000 a year.

I think there's a realisation now that traditional tape-based backup and DR is expensive because of the need to invest in duplicate hardware and software. ClouDRaaS offers a completely inclusive service so you're not wasting manpower - meaning IT staff can be better deployed which in turn means your organisation becomes more efficient. It also improves your licensing costs because your software licences disappear too. You save on off-site storage and, if you've been buying in IT support, then costs for that would disappear as well.

It's all about seeing the real value of the Cloud and giving proper consideration to the complete business case, all of which we can help with. Replacing upfront investments with ongoing monthly bills and ensuring higher performance and reliability is a huge business benefit; not forgetting the security, peace of mind and compliance to help meet your legal and regulatory requirements. It's a win-win.

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