Sep 28 2015

Schools Derive Savings from Disaster Recovery as a Service

Districts recognize that DRaaS costs less than building and maintaining redundant facilities.

IT leaders in education are making practical decisions about backup and recovery, such as migrating from tape.

Puneet Sharma, director of IT services for Oxnard Union High School District in California, says the district’s move to Microsoft Azure Site Recovery saves money. “It just boiled down to the costs being cheaper,” he says. “I can get 4 terabytes of storage in the cloud for $2,000 per year. Tape is considerably more expensive.”


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

Sharma purchased Azure’s Disaster Recovery as a Service offering as an add-on to a Microsoft Data Protection subscription. He also uses Azure to back up SQL databases, the student information system, virtual machines and Active Directory.

Oxnard Union High School District also saves money by not having to maintain a redundant facility. However, the move to the cloud required a wireless network upgrade and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching. “Once we had the infrastructure in place, it made it easy to transition over to the cloud,” Sharma says. “Now, there are no bottlenecks.”

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.

Taking Another Take on DRaaS

Steve Mancini, supervisor of information and instructional technology for the New Castle County (Del.) Vocational Technical School District, takes a unique approach to DRaaS.

Because many districts (and especially charter schools) can’t afford to build redundant facilities, Mancini set up a shared DR site at the state data center in Dover. He deployed EMC Avamar backup and recovery software and Data Domain storage appliances.

The Brandywine School District uses the Dover DR facility, and numerous charter schools and districts are in talks about signing up for the service. “We charge the districts 25 cents and up per gigabyte, per month, based on their needs, which is much cheaper than if they had to either build or lease a redundant facility,” Mancini says. “This type of cost sharing benefits not only cash-strapped school districts, but also the taxpayers who ultimately fund our schools.”


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