DRaaS or Disaster Recovery as a Service is rapidly beginning to replace tape-based DR in small to medium sized businesses much like streaming audio services have replaced the need to maintain your own collection of CDs. In a 2015 report, Gartner forecast that the current 1.3 billion DRaaS market is growing at 30% per year and by 2018 it will be the predominant model for Disaster Recovery.
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What does this mean for the IBM i?
DRaaS is a great fit in the IBM i world. Firstly there is a very large SMB base running on IBM i and a large number of these customers are still using magnetic tape for their Disaster Recovery strategy. Secondly, the IBM i is the perfect platform for virtualisation. This means IBM i businesses can replicate their data to a virtualised host and take advantage of a cloud-based, cost-effective, multi-tenanted offering. Finally the advanced IBM i features of local and remote journaling make data replication easy with low bandwidth requirements and the ability to access the backup data in the cloud for testing and recovery.
Why should IBM i businesses move from tape DR to cloud DR?
When a Disaster Recovery plan is based on restoring yesterday’s backup tape, an organisation is faced with the real threat of losing up to 24 hours data. Add to that the time it takes to retrieve the tape from offsite storage and to run the restore – you are probably talking about being without your precious servers and data for several days. These two issues are called your Recovery Point and Recovery Time Objectives. Some IT shops have tried to mitigate their RTO and RPO business risk by duplicating their IT infrastructure on premise and maintaining a second site for DR. This is of course a very expensive option. A cloud-based DRaaS option can deliver the recovery times and recovery points of on-premise infrastructure duplication at a fraction of the price.
What if I have a limited budget?
When developing a DR Plan, IBM i businesses are typically concerned about their RTO, their RPO or both. A full DRaaS offering will deliver a RPO of ‘last transaction’ or a recovery point measured in seconds. It will also deliver a RTO of a few hours. Like all things a secure RTO and RPO come at a price. For businesses on a budget who are mostly concerned about losing data but can afford to be without their servers for a longer period of time there is DRaaS RTV. Real-time vaulting will secure a business’s data to the ‘last transaction’ and deliver a longer RTO – typically up to 48 hours.
Testing your DR
In order for a DR system to be considered effective and therefore worth the investment, it needs to work when it counts most; when a disaster occurs. Testing is critical. These tests, like a fire-evacuation drill, take significant time to execute in the traditional on-premise model. DRaaS however, allows organisations to outsource components of this work to professionals that are highly skilled in recognising system errors, and correcting them effectively as well as running simulated or real world role swaps. This allows the DRaaS customer’s IT team to focus on their primary roles, safe in the knowledge that their DR solution is being managed more effectively.
Take the test!
Where does your IBM i organisation fit in the new and emerging DRaaS world? If you download the free Maxava DR strategy guide and go to page 42, you can follow a decision tree for deciding your disaster recovery strategy.
Simon O’Sullivan is a co-founder and the senior Maxava executive responsible for the Asia Pacific region. With over 15 years’ Maxava experience and more than 10 years of prior systems experience in New Zealand, England, Japan and Saudi Arabia, Simon has worked with an impressive portfolio of businesses to deploy secure, reliable DR solutions including many household names and a number of Fortune 500 customers. For questions about Maxava, contact Simon.
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