DRaaS Appliances 101

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For midsized companies around 1000 employees, the average costs of unplanned downtime ranges from $1,200 to $3,600 per hour, depending on the industry. And the average midsize company experiences 16–20 business hours of downtime per year.

As you can see, there is a significant financial motivation for companies to reduce or eliminate unplanned downtime. Despite this, companies often lack the IT budgets to implement the measures necessary to appropriately deal with this problem.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of dealing with this challenge is through the use of cloud-enabled backup and disaster recovery appliances.

Cloud appliances are becoming very popular amongst IT administrators, when it comes to the protection of both physician and virtual servers.

Compared to in-house solutions, they are easier to manage, require no capital investment, eliminate the need for tape, and usually offer a lower Total Cost of Ownership. But more importantly, cloud backup appliances also offer a number of important recovery process advantages, when compared to conventional off-site backup methods. Before going into these advantages, let’s take a moment and examine – at a very high level – how cloud backup DR appliances work.

The cloud backup provider hosts a backup appliance in the client’s datacenter. All backups are first performed locally to the backup appliance.

Then, the appliance then uploads this data to a remote datacenter.

At minimum, 2 copies of the backup data are preserved. One copy is kept locally for fast recovery, and the others are kept off-site for major disasters.

This is what’s often referred to as a “Disk to Disk to Cloud” or D2D2C backup.

Speed of recovery is the main advantage of having an on-site copy of the data, since this eliminates the need to download large volumes of data over an Internet connection.

Most common data recoveries can easily be performed from the appliance. The off-site copies are usually only used in worst-case scenarios where restoring to the primary location would not be ideal or even possible.

In the event of a full server failure, a local cloud appliance can be used to quickly load a recent system image snapshot to perform a bare metal recovery to a local server. For large data volumes, this is faster and more convenient than downloading over the Internet.

If the local server is destroyed, the local appliance could also recover the system image to a virtual machine or another device.

Of course, when it comes to unplanned downtime, recovery time is critical. If the primary file server crashes, all productivity in the company can come to a complete stops.

Since a cloud backup appliance is already installed and configured for your internal network, this device can immediately be mounted as a temporary storage server. Within a few minutes, all users will get access to their files directly from the appliance, until the production server can be brought back online.

And in the event that a more complex system – such as a database or email server – experiences a major failure, a system image can hosted directly on the appliance until you’re ready to bring your production servers back.

Finally, there might be some scenarios, such as major natural disasters, where rebuilding locally simply isn’t an option. In these cases, the servers can be temporarily hosted as virtual machines in the cloud provider’s “warm site” environment until a new primary production site can be made available.

Not only doe cloud DR appliances offer fast recovery times, but they also provide the flexibility to adapt to whatever your emergency recovery requirements. And mentioned earlier, the use of cloud-enabled offsite backup appliances offers many other benefits that have nothing to do with disaster recovery.

But if unplanned downtime of your critical business systems has the potential to seriously impact your business, a cloud backup and DR appliance can provide a lot of value.

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