How to Select a DRaaS Provider in 3 Steps
Guest Post by Zerto Cloud Service Provider Green House Data
It’s true that planning for an emergency situation can be difficult and time consuming, but failing to prepare can be disastrous for your company. Whenever an organization experiences IT downtime, production stops…and revenue takes a major hit.
To simplify disaster recovery and rest easy knowing that business systems and data will be there when they need them, many small to midsized companies are evaluating disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). This fully managed solution is a great alternative for companies that lack the expertise or necessary staff to provision, configure, and regularly test their systems to meet recovery goals.
In order for disaster recovery to succeed, you must select a provider that has your interests in mind and can fully protect your data according to your organization’s specific requirements. Here are three steps to choosing a provider and set up a recovery plan that will keep your computer systems working so you can avoid downtime.
Objectives & Resources
There are some details that you need to take into consideration when comparing different DRaaS providers:
- What are their replication options?
- What does their recovery environment look like?
- Do they offer testing?
- Do they have multiple data centers in strategically placed locations?
Your objectives for this plan are crucial as well. Think about what your company must achieve by implementing a DR plan. What are the critical parts of your infrastructure that are needed for daily business operations? Knowing why you are doing this can help pinpoint where to start and what parts of your infrastructure need more concentration.
You need to keep in mind your RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) needs. How far back do you need to go in order for normal operations to resume in the event of a system, network, or application failure? You probably don’t need e-mails from five years ago, but you do need documents from last week. What is the tolerable length of time for a system, network, or application to be unavailable? If your company has not established RTO or RPO, a DRaaS provider should be able to assist in determining these.
Support is a big factor as well. If something were to go wrong, does the provider offer 24/7/365 technical support? Are their technicians properly trained and certified? What is their guaranteed response time to critical issues? These factors should be addressed in the Service Level Agreement from each potential provider, which will detail the acceptable downtime of their own systems, the availability of staff, and more, with compensation offered if they do not meet the agreement.
Setting Up Your Disaster Recovery
When you’ve settled on a provider, you need to setup and test your DR. If you’ve picked a fully managed solution, like DRaaS, your new partner can do this for you. If not, you should know what their process is and what software will be required for compatibility issues.
You may also want to know how long the migration is going to take, the amount of potential downtime that may occur, and if there is any risk of data corruption, or missed or lost data.
Different DR tools have different configuration settings and may or may not integrate with your environment by default. It’s wise to set up automated failover with continuous replication, but that can also increase bandwidth and storage fees. Some software does automatically integrate with virtualization management tools like vCenter or vSphere, so you can set up fast, automated, recovery with groups of virtual machines.
Having a DR plan is good, but examining each step of it to make sure everything is in working order is a must. Make sure your DRaaS provider offers routine testing of all stages of your DR plan to ensure that your data will be recovered, your critical applications will be restored, and your business operations can continue as normal.
Should an outage occur, systems will failover to standby equipment that seamlessly takes over so your business will experience little, if any downtime. You will need to know your requirements for the failover process and testing, and if the provider already has a pre-defined failover policy.
A service provider can help set up automated failover, which will periodically check in to see if your infrastructure is live and switch over network settings, power up your backup virtual machines, and make sure your employees never miss a beat.
Put careful consideration into the DR provider you choose in terms of their long-term availability and capabilities, to ensure their performance is at the level your company needs in order to avoid major issues if the failover process is delayed.
Green House Data takes disaster recovery planning very seriously, and with facilities located in some of the safest areas in the country, severe weather or seismic events are of slight concern. Green House Data provides cost-effective custom solutions from traditional DR to DRaaS, concentrating on faster replication, improved recovery time, and configurability.