Recently, some esteemed analysts at Gartner wrote up 10 Strategic Questions to Ask Potential DRaaS Providers1. It’s an excellent report – if you get a chance to look it up. And, we proactively decided to answer those 10 questions for you – just to be helpful.
1. “How will the service provider ensure that reductions in monthly storage costs are consistent with storage technology price/performance improvements?”
You are probably thinking, storage prices are dropping so are you going to pass the savings to me over time? Fair point. They are. And with every new generation, we get cheaper infrastructure – both storage and compute. So, yes, we lower our prices. We evaluate our pricing at least once a quarter, and in the years I’ve been here, we’ve only ever skewed things down. So – the answer is: Absolutely.
2. “What topology strategies are recommended, what technical features do you provide today, and what will you deliver in the future with respect to WAN acceleration, compression, and deduplication?”
This is a really common question – all the “optimized use of bandwidth” questions come together. Our team re-evaluates all the WAN acceleration tools and features of our DRaaS solutions (both Veeamand Zerto) regularly – and have concluded that for all but the largest of customers, the cost of running the acceleration appliance is far greater than the benefits it provides. But, rest assured, we’ll evaluate your situation and give you our best recommendation.
3. “How will bare-metal restores be accommodated in a hybrid configuration?”
Of course we support bare metal! Some of your most critical systems are probably on bare metal – so why would you neglect them in a disaster? We have support for P2V, P2P and even co-location at each of our eight global data centers.
4. “What level of support exists for virtual machine storage and activation within other cloud infrastructures (especially hyper-scale) that have compelling service usage pricing advantages? What is on the roadmap?”
This is a good question. We read it as basically asking, “Do you integrate with other hyper-scale or “Big Box” clouds?” The answer is in two parts: First – yes, we can support DR from these clouds into the iland cloud. And second, no – we do not extend onto these clouds as a failover target. We prefer to offer an end-to-end service ourselves, where we can control security, guarantee SLAs and provide our exceptional customer support.
5. “What are the service provider’s plans toward bringing SDN, network virtualization and NFV capabilities to DRaaS, and what benefits shall I expect?”
This is a hot topic – and we get questions on NSX and WAN acceleration all the time. Some of these technologies are available now (WAN Acceleration) and we consult with customers on whether the costs of running it merits the performance benefits (which is rare, truthfully). And, others are on our roadmap, with the same goals of integration and customer benefit at the fore.
6. “What level of role-based visibility and restoration capabilities will be available on the portal and does it allow for both file and object-level restores for file systems and applications?”
Our integrated DR technologies enable both file and VM-level restoration. And there is a journal capability built-in, so you can choose to restore from different points in time. All of this is managed through our integrated console, from which you’d manage your VMs after failover.
Once failed over, your workloads will begin generating backups within 24 hours, with 7-day backups as a standard part of our service offering. Longer term backups or copies at a secondary location are also available. Backup management is also done through the console, for ease of use.
7. “In 24 months’ time, what will be your differentiated strengths when it comes to security in your DRaaS service?”
This may be our favorite DR topic. The iland Secure Cloud℠ is built with integrated security technologies to ensure that your workload is secure and compliant once it is failed over. In fact, it will even scan the workloads during the failover to ensure any malware or other nefarious things are cleaned up prior to switch over.
Further, our console provides on-demand reporting on each element of security, as well as iland’s own compliance posture, to ensure that you can easily report on the state of your workloads to auditors – both operational and regulatory.
8. “To what extent does your service provide support for containers and microservices — whether for a private on-premises deployment or cloud deployment?”
The short answer is: not yet. We haven’t found our customers really asking for this – and as Gartner notes, it’s a bit leading-edge at the moment. Having said that, we review our roadmap monthly and take input from customers through customer council meetings and in more informal ways. So, if it’s important, we’ll get it in there – have no doubt.
9. “What capabilities exist for the recovery of OpenStack implementations and support for on-premises or cloud-based big data or real-time data analytic deployments?”
Our team presents regularly at the Cassandra summit, in part because our platform is built on a Big Data back end, in order to provide the level of analytics we think are critical to cloud management. So, we’re very familiar with the technology. We haven’t run into a lot of Big Data and DRaaS use cases, as yet – but given our engagement with the Open Stack APIs and our love of the topic, we’d welcome the conversation.
10. “Relative to the marketplace three years from now, in what areas do you expect to provide more comparative business value from DRaaS deployments, beyond what was captured in the prior questions, and why do you believe your company is best positioned to deliver on the vision?”
Fair question – and a big one, so I’ll answer it in 3 parts:
- Continuing to expand the footprint of our DR coverage. Right now, we handle physical, virtual (VMW and Hyper-V) and cloud-to-cloud DR. But, as noted, there are nuanced workloads (containers, Big Data), additional platforms, and broader concerns that we will increasingly support.
- Double-down on Security and Compliance. We already have one of the most secure and compliant DRaaS offerings in the market, but we’re adding to the compliance portfolio and continuing to enhance the security, with the goal of making you as comfortable with your workloads in the cloud as you were on-premise (or more!)
- Exceptional Customer Support. DR is often nuanced – and we find that an engaged sales process with thoughtful architectural discussions, hands-on on-boarding and expert technical support are all necessary to bring confidence to a DR solution. And that won’t change in the next few years – if ever.
1 Gartner, 10 Strategic Questions to Ask Potential DRaaS Providers, 23 March 2016