As the cloud continues to infiltrate every aspect of computing , more IT departments are spending vast sums of money running and protecting services in the cloud. Research firm IDC recently estimated  that worldwide spending on public IT cloud services would equal more than $40 billion in 2012 and exceed $100 billion in 2016.
Of those services, one of the most essential is disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) because it helps IT address many of the biggest challenges, such as how to ensure high-performance levels of mission-critical applications at low cost while promoting portability and mobility.
Here are three reasons why DRaaS is the future of disaster recovery:
Many IT departments have already discovered that disaster recovery via the cloud is more dependable and easier to manage than tape-based and server-based recoveries. If backup tapes or servers are near the disaster, they are subject to the same risks as the primary server site. If the tapes or backup servers are too far away, the enterprise may face recovery-time issues.
Services that leverage virtual private infrastructures can efficiently protect systems and data across geographic risk zones in the event of a widespread disaster. In addition, these virtual private infrastructures also offer higher levels of security compared with public clouds.
Virtualized DRaaS environments require far fewer provisioning and hardware resources than disaster recovery sites that duplicate an enterprise’s entire infrastructure. This allows the entire system to be tested quickly, easily and often in order to ensure that the business continuity plan works properly.
When DR sites are duplicated, they typically require many servers, creating time restraints that cause the provider’s IT technicians to test only a handful of the servers after a disaster happens.
In contrast, the DRaaS approach makes the process simpler while also reducing the cost. In addition, DRaaS reduces the risk and cost of failure by using highly virtualized computing, network and storage resources for backup-server provisioning.
This approach is more effective because enterprises can share spare capacity with other enterprises — even though the capacity can fluctuate based on the time of day, the time of year, or even the season. DRaaS also enables rapid service orchestration by using next-generation IT provisioning to adjust to required capacity.
DRaaS provides enterprises with the flexibility to select the recovery scope for each type of disaster:
The recovery scope for each situation is determined in advance by performing a business-impact analysis.
The plan should include the desired recovery methodology, the extent of the recovery, and the timeframe of the recovery — all of which should be clearly defined within an end-to-end service level agreement (SLA).
A good SLA should also guarantee that the provider will deliver fail-over in the event of a disaster and will make data accessible within a predetermined period of time. In addition, the provider should test and validate the backups as the system restores.
Typical disaster recovery services replicate applications and data between two data centers. If the primary data center becomes unavailable, then the backup site takes over and activates a new copy of the application using the most recently replicated data.
These services focus on providing business continuity by allowing applications to fail-over to a backup site while minimizing service disruptions.
Leveraging the cloud for DR means that IT no longer has to create an entire replicated disaster recovery site, which can be quite costly. The flexibility of the cloud also allows workloads to be backed up quickly and less expensively.
With the right cloud processes, enforceable service levels and security-rich technology, DRaaS can make disaster recovery implementations less expensive, more automated and much more secure than traditional disaster recovery options.
To quickly backup and restore systems while maintaining data and application integrity, companies need to partner with a trustworthy service provider. It’s critical not to blindly trust a provider and its stated SLA. Companies must confirm that the partner’s service provides secure and quick recoveries.