Establishing cloud backup solutions as part of a larger disaster recovery strategy is becoming a priority for businesses, and it isn't hard to see why. What may be surprising is how quickly the cloud has risen as a prominent disaster recovery option.
Gartner was there when cloud disaster recovery solutions began to emerge. In November 2011, the research firm released a study predicting the future of what was then called the Recovery-as-a-Service industry. Now, cloud disaster recovery systems are referred to as Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solutions, and more than the name has matured. In 2011, Gartner estimated that approximately 1 percent of midsize companies were using the cloud for recovery. There was plenty of excitement for DRaaS, as the study predicted DRaaS adoption would climb to 30 percent by 2014.
Well, 2014 has arrived and it turns out that Gartner was pretty close on its prediction, but it ultimately undersold enterprise cloud solutions for disaster recovery.
The current state of DRaaS solutions
When Gartner released its study, it predicted that DRaaS would struggle to take hold in the enterprise because large organizations already have established disaster recovery systems in place. As such, the 30 percent expected adoption rate among midsize organizations represented the dominant market for DRaaS adoption. Things have changed in the past few years. A March 2014 study from Forrester Research found 44 percent of respondents either want to move disaster recovery to the cloud or are planning to do so. Furthermore, the study included representatives from both midsize and large companies, showing that DRaaS is reaching a wider audience.
Forrester also found that DRaaS services have evolved. In particular, service level agreements have become more sophisticated.
For a long time, SLAs were one of the major barriers to public cloud adoption. Businesses were afraid of getting locked into their partnership with a vendor and losing control of their data by putting it into the hands of a third party. Approximately 94 percent of the respondents who work for organizations actively using DRaaS said that SLAs have gotten better across the industry.
Making the most of DRaaS solutions
Forrester's research indicated that many organizations are using integrated disaster recovery models that feature both cloud and premise-based solutions. Such a setup can deliver positive results, but success hinges on having complete control of the cloud configuration.
Control is a tricky matter in the cloud, but leading DRaaS vendors have established infrastructure hosting models that provide transparency and advanced management features for customers. In many cases, this is accomplished by unifying server, storage and network functionality in a common platform, allowing users to handle all aspects of the configuration through a centralized portal.