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BaaS, DRaaS, and the Cloud They Rode in On

Mar 21, 2018, 11:00 AM by Trenton Baker

baas-draas-and-the-cloud

What do you really need from Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)? Typical (honest) answers include:

  • “Backup takes so much time. I don’t just want to backup to the cloud, I want someone else to do it. But they have to do it right.”
  • “Backup is so expensive. Maybe a backup provider will save money, but how will I know for sure?”
  • “I’m not sure we can restore SAP FI on time. Maybe I should go with a service that manages restores. But I need failover too.”
  • “We’re backing up all right, but I don’t even want to think about what happens if our servers go down.”
  • “We need DRaaS, but I’m not IBM, and the big public clouds aren’t taking my business seriously. I need someone who will work with me.”

The common thread in these questions is the need for effective backup and DR services coupled with efficient, flexible, reliable, and attentive customer support. This is a tall order,, which is why MSPs can partner with CSPs like KeepItSafe to deliver comprehensive solutions. But how do you decide if you need BaaS or DRaaS, or both? And how do you know which type of cloud best delivers those services?

Choosing Cloud BaaS or DRaaS

BaaS and DRaaS are two different offerings. You may need one or both, but understand the distinction when you’re thinking about application RTO and RPO. Do you have hours to days to restore, and can you stand to lose up to 24 hours of data? Then BaaS may work well for you. Do you have minutes to seconds, and no data can be lost without business impact? Then consider DRaaS. In any case, choose a managed provider whose cloud partner works closely with its customers to provide the best possible customized experience.


BaaS

Backup as a Service (BaaS) is not simply backup and restore using the cloud as a backup target. Your service provider works with you to build a long-term data retention strategy and secure environment that takes advantage of the cloud’s dynamic provisioning and extreme scalability. The provider should work closely with you to develop customized SLAs for backup windows, verification, and RTO/RPO.

When you talk to prospective providers, be sure to ask their downtime percentage. According to a Kroll Ontrack survey of data center administrators, 75% of them were unable to restore all lost data after a hardware failure or ransomware attack, and of that 23 % lost their data entirely. This is a potent reminder to entrust your backup to providers whose sole purpose is to support you and protect your data.

Many BaaS providers also enable long-term data storage and searchability for eDiscovery and compliance. Many of these services also backup up remote offices and endpoint devices. When you’re looking at service providers, ask if they offer these services even if you don’t need them yet. You may well need them soon, and you already have a partner who can simply expand backup services to suit.


Top 5 Features to Look for in a BaaS Provider

  1. Supports multiple operating systems. Windows is a given, but Linux or MacOS might not be. If you are running these OSs, then make sure your BaaS provider supports them.
  2. Demonstrates financial viability and longevity. Anyone can hang up a shingle and call themselves an MSP or CSP. Industry leaders want to share their customer base, partnerships, and experience with you.
  3. Customizes your SLAs. The best specialized CSPs differentiate themselves from the megaclouds by their customer support and customized SLAs.
  4. Maintains secure and compliant data centers. Data centers are physically and digitally secure, and are compliant with local, regional, and national privacy regulations. They offer data-in-transit and data-at-rest encryption and securely manage encryption keys.
  5. Keeps customers in the loop. They report regularly to their BaaS customers and send alerts and remediation as soon as they happen. They provide a management portal, so customers can review activity and backup verification.

DRaaS

Markets and Markets analysts stated that the DRaaS market size was 2.19 billion in 2017, and they expect it to grow to 12.54 billion by 2022. The need driving this growth is keeping critical applications available during downtime. DRaaS continuously replicates VM images for fast application failover. Should protected applications go down, the DRaaS environment automatically or manually fails over to the cloud.

DRaaS is built on workflow orchestration because failing over an application is not a matter of copying some VM’s and clicking “Activate.” Jason Buffington of ESG shares an example of a multi-VM application with web front ends that connect to middleware running on database servers. As if this wasn’t complicated enough, each component is subject to Active Directory authentication. DRaaS orchestrates the workflow that activates all the components in the proper order and observes AD user authentication.


4 Major DRaaS Benefits

  1. Rapid failover and failback. When an application fails, the DRaaS service will alert admins. Depending on customer settings, failover will occur automatically, or IT will manually launch it. Failback should follow the same smooth process.
  2. High ROI. DRaaS is a premium service and will cost more than BaaS, but you get immediate application failover that backup and restore do not provide. When a mission- or business-critical application must stay continuously available, DRaaS keeps it running. This protects the organization from harsh financial hits should a mission-critical application go down.
  3. Security. Like BaaS, DRaaS should operate in hardened data centers with strong cyber and physical security. Verify that data is encrypted at-rest and in-flight and choose key management systems that maintain your data’s security.
  4. Expert customer service. MSPs and CSPs work together to provide you with a secure and high-performance DR service. The service should be flexible enough to meet your organization’s specific needs, and expert enough to provide top-flight customer support.

Which Cloud?

Different providers deliver services from different clouds. Your BaaS provider may deliver services from a private cloud, hybrid cloud (IBM, SAP), hyperscaled public clouds, or megaclouds (AWS, Google, Azure), or customized cloud service providers (CSPs).

DRaaS providers deliver from hybrid, megaclouds, or customized clouds. Private clouds are not appropriate for DRaaS. If your data center goes down, the private cloud will probably go with it.

We believe that the highly customized cloud is best at helping customers achieve the effective backup or disaster recovery that they need and want. These clouds customize their offerings by workload type, vertical industry, geographical location and even compliance levels.

Clouds that specialize in backup and data protection services support their customers with customizable SLAs. Expert customer support and flexible SLAs are hard to get from the megacloud if the customer is not a significantly large company. Only deep pocket enterprises have a shot at getting a customizable SLA from a megacloud like AWS. A mid-Market company or SMB is left with off-the-rack SLAs and minimal services.

This is why the KeepItSafe cloud provides purpose-built cloud hosting BaaS and DRaaS solutions with custom support for MSPs, VARs, SIs and their customers.


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