Testing Makes Perfect: How DRaaS Improves Business Health
April 02, 2015
Kemal Balioglu

Doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results might be the basis for insanity. But in the case of disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), it pays to be repetitive. DRaaS or cloud-based DR strategies are now making data and system recovery plans far less complicated and highly efficient for businesses. With some DRaaS solutions, there is also computing capacity on standby to recover applications if there is a disaster. This can be easily tested without impacting the production servers or unsettling the daily business routine. But despite being able to re-think their DR plans in the cloud and make them so much easier, companies often overlook how DR testing can create IT value even in the absence of downtime, including saving time and money on application development and testing.

Why DRaaS Speeds Up Disaster Recovery and App Testing

Data and applications are the lifeblood of the always-on business. A hybrid cloud-based solution combines public cloud and SaaS automation software to make DR continuity planning easier than ever. Cloud-based DR provides companies with data backup, fail-over of servers and the ability to have a secondary data center at a different site to allow for regional disaster recovery. Your business data, applications, and IT services are always protected.

Because DRaaS doesn’t have the physical infrastructure and configuration synchronization associated with traditional disaster recovery, there is no reason why tests can’t be conducted frequently. Testing is the only sure way to know that your business can keep running when the services you rely upon stop working. Testing doesn’t have to interrupt your business or hoard resources.

Don’t Let Testing be an Obstacle

Unfortunately, most systems make testing really, really hard. Too many of them focus on the task of backing up, not recovering. Systems like this only ensure you have a copy of your data. But they often fail to make that data, server or application easy to reinstate. Your IT staff can spend hours preparing, executing, and documenting a test. On top of that, these systems often require resources you’re using to serve your business, threatening the viability of your live system just so you can test your recovery system. That is an unacceptable risk, especially when downtime costs an average of $138,000 an hour, according to Aberdeen Group.

It simply doesn’t make sense to have IT personnel manually checking system configurations when automation should already be available with the DR platform. Recent DRaaS innovations make it very simple to create an on-demand recovery node that you can test quickly. Unlike a typical backup-only cloud storage solution, hybrid DRaaS solutions can maintain up-to-date, ready-to-run virtual machine clones of your critical systems that can run right on an appliance, or in the cloud.

Creating Value Beyond Disaster Recovery

By enabling fast and reliable testing and development, IT managers and CXOs can extend the value of their technology investments. You can simplify operations by quickly replicating production environments to other sites, either on premises or in the cloud. A so-called "sandbox" copy can be created in the cloud, which is only accessible by the IT manager. The administrator just has to click a button and the virtual recovery nodes for all servers start on a test network, usually on an appliance. These copies are created on demand, paid for while being used and deleted once the test is complete.

This makes it incredibly easy and efficient to test updates, upgrades, and new software on servers in a safe virtual environment. You can test DR and applications every day without missing a beat. Test cases can be performed against the recovery nodes in as little as 15 minutes depending on the application, often with no incremental costs. Applications and services are immediately available for other uses, enabling businesses to efficiently adopt cloud infrastructure or speed time to production for new applications and initiatives.

There are other financial benefits to cloud-based testing. Service providers regularly offer sliding scales for DR testing. Putting your DR solution in the cloud also means there isn’t a redundant in-house infrastructure that is sitting unused most of the time.

The cloud gives small to medium-sized business the same capabilities that larger companies have had for years. This means that no company has an excuse today not to have a business continuity or DR plan in place and test it regularly. Testing recovery for your data, applications and services is an investment in the future heath and productivity of your business, as well as a fully-covered insurance policy for when things go wrong. When it comes to disaster preparedness, repeatedly doing something and expecting different results is the very definition of a healthy business.

ABOUT Kemal Balioglu

Kemal Balioglu is Vice President of Products at Quorum. He leads the product team for Quorum, building on more than 15 years of global leadership in the software industry at companies ranging from startup phase to Fortune 100 and in various domains including automation, security, energy management, and data protection. Balioglu has extensive experience in building teams that deliver high quality and easy to use products, and driving technology integration both within and across companies. Prior to joining Quorum, Balioglu was at Symantec where he was responsible for deduplication and new backup technologies for NetBackup, including bringing to market the first deduplication appliance for Symantec. Balioglu previously led teams at Shavlik Technologies (now LANDesk) and Siemens in US and Europe, and holds a MS EE from Technical University of Karlsruhe (Germany).

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