Disaster Recovery: Past, Present and Future - Part 2

Posted 04/14/2015 by Commvault

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This post was co-written by Jesse Gambetti, Cloud Consultant and Commvault

In part 1 of this blog, we highlighted the growing adoption of DRaaS, enabled by the rise of cloud infrastructures as a game changer for this market category. DRaaS offerings are not all created equal, and in part 2 of this blog, we will discuss the role that Service Providers play in delivering DRaaS offerings, and how Commvault works with provider partners to address the particular challenges and opportunities of this market space.

How Has Delivery of DR Services Evolved Over Time?

The typical types of DR preparedness have been relatively consistent over the years. However, the adoption by organizations across these is changing rapidly. Traditionally, recovery in a “cold” scenario includes just a run-book process and requires drop-ship of infrastructure in a real recovery scenario. Obviously recovery times in these “cold” scenarios have the longest SLAs. Moving to “warm” scenarios typically co-locates or hosts resources to be at the ready at a provider site – vastly improving speed of recovery. Lastly, “hot” recovery utilizes fully online resources and active replication, where high availability and zero downtime guarantees are required.

Cloud infrastructures make these “warm” and “hot” DR scenarios much more of a reality for many organizations, providing burst capacity as needed in times of recovery. Now, organizations no longer need to pay for vast amounts of excess capacity that they alone have to buy, operate and manage. Increasingly, they can tap into a cloud, aka shared pool of resources – that deliver the excess capacity needed on-demand, only paying for it when and where it’s needed.

The result is a price tag for disaster preparedness and recovery that many more organizations can afford. As we discussed in part 1, this is one of the factors driving the increasing adoption of DRaaS, allowing customers of all sizes to have a DR strategy – not just the largest of enterprises as in the past.

Those larger enterprises are also continuing to innovate and improve their DR profiles. After first moving their DR strategies from in-house to an outsourced provider, they have been continuously driving efficiencies through multi-sourcing strategies. They have evolved DR from” out-sourcing” to “out-tasking”. Rather than relying on a single provider to be all things for all of their business, many of these large enterprises have driven further costs out of their DR strategies by finding the most affordable providers for each piece of the puzzle. It’s an increasingly typical approach by enterprises to deliver on the most holistic strategy possible, leveraging multiple providers for their particular strengths. The result can often lead to strange bedfellows, with service providers - who would typically be competitors - collaborating to deliver on an overall solution for their customers.

What Are Some of the Particular Challenges that Service Providers Face?

As customers become increasingly comfortable with outsourcing their IT to cloud and managed services providers, this creates an expanded – but also more crowded – market. Service Providers are not faint of heart. They are in an industry that has been continually and rapidly evolving since its inception, and have successfully grown and enabled customers through many phases. Here are some of the common themes we hear from the partners that we are talking to on a nearly daily basis.

  • Offering Strategies: New products and services are entering the market all the time, and prices are changing nearly as fast. Service Providers are constantly working to stay ahead of the curve in understanding market dynamics, what customers are looking for, where features are priced. As services organizations who are closely trusted advisors to their customers – the ability to listen and react to customer feedback is one of the things that sets the successful providers apart.
  • Integrating Public Cloud Resources: Mega providers such as AWS and Microsoft have driven massive economies of scale from their cloud infrastructure footprint. Service Providers are working to integrate and harness these investments on the part of these public cloud providers into their own portfolios – enabling greater focus on their core strengths and efficiencies for their customer base.
  • Customer Experience: As a reminder, cloud-based services are still relatively young. All providers are continually working to understand how to deliver on the feature set, automation, orchestration, and self-service features that will satisfy and delight their users. This never stops.
  • Making the Technology Work: While not last nor least, most of our provider partners feel that this part of their business model is fairly well figured out. Of course things go wrong and need constant fixing, vigilance, and tweaking -- but with each next generation of products from technology vendors, the features to support cloud environments are getting more robust and operationalized.

How Does Commvault Enable DRaaS through Service Providers?

So, now we have discussed why more organizations want DRaaS, and how Service Providers are evolving to meet these demands – how does Commvault help?

  • Technology Leadership: While Service Providers may generally view the technology as the “easier” part of their business, certainly their choice in technology vendors is a key driver of this. Commvault delivers on many of the features that Service Providers need to deliver to their end users effectively and efficiently. Already built into the Commvault software are orchestration, operational runbook automation via workflows, and portalization that enable core offerings such as BaaS and VM management. These types of capabilities enable service providers to get to market, and onboard and support customers more quickly, before further investing in internal development efforts. For example, a service provider can take advantage of automation to create a data verification workflow to authenticate, run a script, and respond with success/fail – freeing staff time from repetitive, manual tasks. Multi-tenancy represents another core capability that is critical to Service Providers delivering core operations across its customer base, not to mention enabling a host of other requirements such as security and charge back reporting.
  • Cloud Solutions Group: Commvault has invested in a service provider practice with industry leading breadth and depth of expertise in the cloud & managed services industry. This is a valuable resource for provider partners to get a pulse on the market landscape, learn of best practices in the community, and pressure test approaches to their own strategies.
  • Partner Ecosystem: Our integrations with an expansive set of public cloud infrastructure platforms allows our partners to plug into new features and innovations. Whether it’s AWS or Microsoft or VMware -- our provider partners can leverage the Commvault software platform to allow customers a range of choices of environments to recover from and to. This means enormous flexibility and functionality of the DRaaS offerings that our Service Providers can deliver to their customers.

The net impact of all of these trends: increased adoption of DRaaS by organizations of all sizes and industries to better support & protect their businesses. We like the sound of that.