Pick the right DRaaS provider to help protect your data from disaster

We're looking at providers of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). What questions should we be asking the providers to help us make the right choice?

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Disaster recovery (DR) products have been around for a long time. Recently, many providers have started offering DR services in a platform style rather than as a software product. These DRaaS offerings allow you to mirror or back up your existing applications in an off-site location for easy failover in the event of a complete failure in your primary application stack.

The most important consideration for any disaster recovery system is how it will affect your other systems.

The most important consideration for any disaster recovery system, including DRaaS, is how it will affect your other systems. You don't want to implement anything that increases your production system's latency or whose failures cause production-system problems.

It's critical to make sure that a DRaaS system can operate without your production system -- and that your production system can operate cleanly without the disaster recovery system. In addition, make sure that you can quickly switch between the two. You should also execute regular "fire drills" to make sure the DRaaS system can handle your full production workload.

It's important to note that any DR system may well cause you to double your operating costs. In order to have a truly scalable DR system, it needs to be able to keep up with your full customer load.

Another important consideration: Make sure that your DR provider doesn't introduce increased security risk. If you're storing sensitive customer information in your systems, and that information is backed up to a DRaaS system, how does the provider make sure your information is secure?

Essentially, you should ask DR providers the same questions you'd ask any standard provider -- and make your decisions based on those answers.

This was first published in November 2013

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