In the Gartner report “10 Strategic Questions to Ask Potential DRaaS Providers” Released on March 23 2016, leading Gartner analysts posed 10 strategic questions that IT and operations leaders need to ask when considering a DRaaS services provider. It’s a thought provoking report on a hot topic in the industry and we at Recovery Point decided to provide you with the answers we would give based on our view of the DRaaS market.

Question No. 1: Pricing Methodology and Storage

“How will the service provider ensure that reductions in monthly storage costs are consistent with storage technology price/performance improvements?”

Recovery Point View

Recovery Point provides clients with the contractual flexibility to migrate between storage platforms and performance classes as technology evolves. To avoid the perception of “vendor lock-in,” we do not typically charge a fee to transfer between storage classes. We advise clients when cheaper storage alternatives become available and how they may involve a performance trade-off. We are preparing to deploy technology which will allow clients to automatically spread data to multiple RPS and/or public cloud providers sites and, if desired, to tape, based on their data storage policies under a simple, unified billing system.

Question No. 2: WAN

“What topology strategies are recommended, what technical features do you provide today, and what will you deliver in the future with respect to WAN acceleration, compression, and deduplication?”

Recovery Point View

Recovery Point believes that network issues are the most overlooked component of enterprise-wide DRaaS solutions. To assist clients, we perform no-cost recovery network assessments with credentialed technicians to determine the appropriate protocols and network capacities required for holistic, enterprise recovery. Our engineering staff has deep skills across many vendor offerings. Where appropriate, we use tools with native compression and de-duplication capabilities and may also employ supplemental hardware/appliances and software, such as Riverbed and SilverPeak to minimize bandwidth requirements. Most importantly, Recovery Point’s private DWDM-based network infrastructure functions as a national network hub with the ability to cross connect inexpensively to over 700 WAN providers. As part of our detailed, personalized onboarding process, our credentialed staff assists clients with engineering, deploying and managing the most appropriate connectivity solutions to effectuate recovery at the least cost.

Question No. 3: Bare Metal

“How will bare-metal restores be accommodated in a hybrid configuration?”

Recovery Point View

Unlike niche DRaaS providers who tend to focus almost exclusively on virtualized Wintel recovery solutions, Recovery Point has 15 years of experience focusing on multi-vendor BMR services. We have credentialed staff with years of experience in recovering multiple technologies from Wintel to iSeries, pSeries, and IBM Mainframe, and we support P2V failover and V2P failback. While present demand for container-based recovery is limited, every expectation is that it will grow over time. We offer physical compute resources to facilitate recovery of container solutions and the ability to replicate containers into our cloud for a number of storage platforms to allow for bare metal recovery of client container environments.

We have large pools of physical servers available from all major manufacturers, making it easy to find the right match for BMR recoveries, at no extra cost. We have tested and deployed the latest software tools to facilitate accelerated BMR and continually evaluate the latest market offerings. Recovery Point offers free “proof of concept” testing to allow prospective clients the opportunity to validate their ability to fail over and fail back using our DRaaS offerings prior to making a contractual commitment. Recovery Point offers DRaaS options with both shared and dedicated resources, and where it makes sense, the option for clients to co-locate their own resources at a specific Recovery Point facility center and, thereby develop the cost-effective blend of resources.

Question No. 4: Multiple Cloud DRaaS and Hybrid Cloud Management

“What level of support exists for virtual machine storage and activation within other cloud?
infrastructures (especially hyper-scale) that have compelling service usage pricing advantages?
What is on the roadmap?”

Recovery Point View

Recovery Point offers the flexibility to replicate between multiple hypervisor platforms including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM, either from services running in a public cloud or at another client-operated site. For example, a client with a Microsoft Hyper-V production environment might recover using a VMware-based DRaaS solution at a Recovery Point facility.

Recovery Point believes that its services are most valuable to clients when they deliver increased flexibility. We design DraaS solutions that can be used to leverage the best features of the large hyperscale cloud offerings in conjunction with our services, rather than attempt to exclude them. Because we are directly connected at Layer 1 into the largest national network peering centers, we are able to offer very low latency direct access to these large providers while appearing as a flat network. Thus, at the time of a disaster, we enable our clients’ to hyperscale compute resources most efficiently. We offer DraaS solutions for clients who utilize the public cloud for production workloads by failover to a Recovery Point site as well as dual Recovery Point site solutions (IaaS and DraaS as a package) whereby business continuity is automatically embedded in the offering to allow failover to an alternate cloud platform or datacenter.

Question No. 5: Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

“What are the service provider’s plans toward bringing SDN, network virtualization and NFV?
capabilities to DRaaS, and what benefits shall I expect?”

Recovery Point View

Recovery Point supports SDN through rapid virtual deployments of switching/firewall/load balancing infrastructure via catalog-based options with feature sets which complement those which may have been lost or compromised in a disaster. These options can support impairments of public or private cloud resources as well as brick and mortar datacenter resources, in virtually any combination. We also have the skills and staff to assist with their configuration and management. Our roadmap includes deployment of Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Control and Application Virtual Switching. This enhancement allows for rapid application changes and reduces complexity by using policy driven network frameworks that automate provisioning and resource management. VXLan gateway technology also enables Recovery Point to stretch layer 2 networks between DR facilities and public cloud providers to allow clients to hyperscale resources while appearing as a flat network.

Question No. 6: Copy Data Management

“What level of role-based visibility and restoration capabilities will be available on the portal and
does it allow for both file and object-level restores for file systems and applications?”

Recovery Point View

Recovery Point’s DRaaS solutions all include role based visibility and restoration capabilities for both file and object-level data and they support restores for file systems and applications from multiple points in time. We support different retention policies for on premises, cloud based and tape (virtual and physical) retention.These technologies natively provide data dedupe, compression, and encryption to minimize storage consumption both on premises and in the cloud. They also reduce network bandwidth requirements between locations. Our near-term roadmap includes deployment of policy driven, object-based, deep storage archiving solutions with highly competitive pricing, based on Shingled Magnetic Recording technology. These services enhance a client’s ability to scale across cloud platforms, data centers and regions, at the least cost. The goal is to competitively spread data across secondary and tertiary sites and in multiple forms of media, including virtual tape and physical tape.

Question No. 7: Security

“In 24 months’ time, what will be your differentiated strengths when it comes to security in your
DRaaS service?”

Recovery Point View

Recovery Point leverages a shared security model for DRaaS offerings in which we are responsible for protecting the network perimeter, storage, compute, and networking components on which the client’s data relies. To achieve this, Recovery Point employs a variety of technologies, such as RSA two-factor authentication for cloud components, hardened jump boxes for privileged account functions, and next-gen firewalls running NIDS and advanced malware protection. Recovery Point clients are able to secure, monitor, and control access to their sensitive data and applications by deploying virtual firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, advanced malware/antivirus software, data loss prevention tools, and SEIM packages directly from the RPS DRaaS cloud service catalog. Recovery Point is one of the few DRaaS providers whose services are provided from a credentialed, FISMA Moderate environment, which is in the process of becoming FedRamp qualified.

Question No. 8: Containers and Microservices

“To what extent does your service provide support for containers and microservices — whether for a private on-premises deployment or cloud deployment?”

Recovery Point View

Recovery Point sees the evolving container and microservices solutions reaching broader adoption over time as hyperscaling progresses toward the mainstream. However, we also agree that this area is not yet mature and carries some significant risks. Recovery Point’s activities in designing layered solutions for source code repositories, microservices code access and the like is very limited at this time. As described above, by utilizing the SDN Application Policy Infrastructure Control and Application Virtual Switching, we can address the complex network and security concerns of containers as well as the speed of deployment. Using policy driven SDN allows for both North/South and East/West network traffic filtering which can mitigate the propagation of malware and scale rapidly. Part of the SDN research with Application Infrastructure Control and Application Virtual Switching also allows us to provide for container deployment and isolation provisioning based on policies as client needs arise.

Question No. 9: OpenStack, Big Data and Real-Time Data Analytics

“What capabilities exist for the recovery of OpenStack implementations and support for on premises or cloud-based big data or real-time data analytic deployments?”

Recovery Point View

As in the case of containers and microservices, this area is not yet fully mature and carries some significant risks. To date, we have seen modest demand to provide related DRaaS services but can support OpenStack recovery with existing DRaaS infrastructure by providing a dedicated recovery resource to replicate OpenStack and applying appropriate compute resources at time of test or disaster. OpenStack clients do need to be aware of their specific components in use (Compute, Storage, Networking, Data and Metadata, and Security Groups) and plan carefully to acquire compatible resources from a DRaaS provider. While attractive for production, OpenStack solutions may be more challenging to recover, lack formalized support and require much more closely matched physical recovery resources than conventional solutions, including APIs drivers and the like.

That said, Cinder and Swift replication are the preferred methods to provide DRaaS for Openstack. Recovery Point’s diverse network allows for extremely low response times permitting replication of our clients Openstack environments. This advantage, coupled with our ability to support multiple hardware vendor platforms, permits clients to verify compatible drivers which can minimize the impact of orchestration.

Question No. 10: Increased and Differentiated Business Value

“Relative to the marketplace three years from now, in what areas do you expect to provide more comparative business value from DRaaS deployments, beyond what was captured in the prior questions, and why do you believe your company is best positioned to deliver on the vision? In addition to your own examples, include specific examples around multiuse of DRaaS (such as dev/ test), as well as enablement for end-to-end IT resilience management, protection of cloud-native applications, and automated planning, management, and execution for deployments spanning many.”

Recovery Point View

We see a number of developments on the horizon that could have significant impacts on the DRaaS market over the next two to three years. Continued evolution of DRaaS from a basic solution for recovery of a limited set of virtualized resources (essentially, just server recovery) into a holistic enterprise business continuity/disaster recovery solution will be key and will require increasing emphasis on recovery automation/orchestration and network capabilities, along with the ability to handle heterogeneous platform environments in a dynamic, hybrid datacenter environment. The dominant DRaaS players of the future will embrace this need for DRaaS to “grow up” and evolve into a true enterprise recovery solution and will develop the resources and skills to onboard and manage complex clients smoothly. DRaaS cannot thrive and remain a limited offering with a somewhat heavy emphasis on “self-service.”

The ever increasing need to store larger amounts of data for longer amounts of time, and the ability to store this data in a cost effective, easy to use and resilient manner will be critical. Not only does this data need to be stored, it also needs to be accessible for analytics and preserved for compliance. The DRaaS winners of tomorrow will embrace the public cloud providers closely and enable deployment of policy driven, object-based, deep storage archiving solutions with highly competitive pricing as part of their basic DRaaS offerings.

Increased adoption of DRaaS by larger enterprises will drive increased demand for true enterprise system and network recovery capabilities, and, along with that, better uptime, performance and legal compliance. A major goal will be vendor-managed recovery of multiple platforms into a single cloud with a common portal with managed/automated testing. Larger clients also will want to own critical pieces of their DRaaS infrastructure, placing a premium on providers who offer co-location and managed security services embedded in their DRaaS services. DRaaS will continue to enable clients to regularly and selectively test portions of their DR/business continuity plans and potentially utilize some of their resources for other limited purposes, such as Test/Dev.

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