Sep 28 2015

Colleges See a Future for Disaster Recovery as a Service

IT leaders say DRaaS will cut costs and improve continuity of operations.

Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, has come a long way in a short time with storage and disaster recovery.

When Dave Bender took over as executive director of Otterbein’s Information and Technology Services department two years ago, the university had maxed out its existing infrastructure, and storage needed a significant upgrade.


Percentage of organizations that use Disaster Recovery as a Service in some form; 40% either plan to use DRaaS or are interested in using it in the next 12 months

SOURCE: Enterprise Strategy Group, “The Evolving Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Landscape,” Fall 2015

Moving to a Tier 4 data center and implementing Veeam’s backup and recovery has produced excellent results for the university. For instance, Bender says that after the university’s enterprise resource planning system was corrupted, recovery took only five minutes, compared with four to six hours previously.

Bender is considering deploying a Disaster Recovery as a Service offering from a Veeam service provider to eliminate the expense of a traditional disaster recovery facility. “DR in the cloud is attractive for a number of reasons, and this is especially true for us because our Veeam software will support it natively,” he says.

Paul Hughes, IDC program director for storage and data management services, says DRaaS reduces costs and improves access to data and applications. “Many DRaaS providers offer self-service tools that provide high visibility and are easy to use, so it makes both business and economic sense for organizations to run DR in the cloud.”

Likewise, Jason Buffington, a senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group, notes that midsized organizations require better resiliency and can’t afford to build redundant facilities.

Building a Path to DRaaS

Dr. Edward G. Mahon, vice president for information services and CIO at Kent State University, has taken a strategic path to DRaaS over the past few years.

Mahon’s first step was migrating the Ohio university from tape to disk-to-disk storage and deduplication. Kent State deployed a Tivoli file management system and runs deduplication with Quantum appliances.

The second step was to hire a managed services provider to host and manage the disaster recovery services. Mahon views this primarily as an interim move to prepare for the final step, which is to virtualize the entire computing environment and work with a cloud-based DRaaS provider. He’s interested in exploring VMware-based solutions because Kent State uses that software.

“We plan on doing a competitive bid process, and once we sign on with a DRaaS service, we won’t need the managed service provider to host DR for us,” Mahon says. “However, we will still need a provider to manage the cloud service.”

Olivier Le Moal/Thinkstock

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