There have been significant advances in technology innovation over the past decade, making data preservation easier, quicker, more reliable and effective in protecting businesses against threats of downtime, hardware corruption, and data loss.
Likewise, the as-a-service market has rapidly grown as organizations outsource more and more aspects of their IT responsibilities to third parties so they can focus their time and internal IT skills on supporting the core business operations.
Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) have emerged in this past decade. While these terms mean two different things, they are often confused and used interchangeably.
BaaS and DRaaS have a couple of similarities. These are:
• Both focus on minimizing the impact of data loss when disaster strikes.
• Both are cloud-based solutions, typically managed in some way by a third party.
So you may also be wondering, what is the difference between BaaS and DraaS?
In a nutshell, Backup as a Service (BaaS) stores and secures your data files, whereas Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) stores and secures your entire server: operating system, applications and configuration as well as data. The difference becomes more apparent if you have to recover after a total system failure.
With BaaS, you will get all your vital data back – as long as it was part of the backup plan. You will, however, have to procure and configure new servers, re-install operating systems and all applications that you had before. You will need to reconfigure all your settings on your OS and applications. Then you can restore the data back onto the new active server.
In short, your business will recover, but how soon depends on how quickly you can reconfigure necessary hardware and software before restoring your backup data. Depending on the size of your business, IT skills availability, procurement procedures, it can take anything from a few hours to a few weeks to resume normal operations. During this time, in some cases, the productivity of your general employees may go down as they try to operate without the systems they’re used to. This could, in turn, affect their service delivery to clients and potential clients.
On the other hand, with DRaaS, your entire server(s), including operating system, all applications, all data, and all system configurations and settings, are recovered typically within minutes (or a few hours). Even if your physical server is destroyed, the server image can be restored to a different virtual machine (VM). With DraaS, after a disaster, your business can be running again sooner than your general employees will realize there was a massive system failure.
DRaaS focuses on speed of recovery and therefore involves the technology of replication, where the third-party provider continually copies changed data from your primary production environment to a cloud storage environment. In this way, in the event of a disaster, you can simply failover to the cloud environment and simply run your business operations from the DR site while your IT team repairs the primary systems at your premises. DRaaS will typically have the latest iteration for reduced data loss, maintain system and applications, maintain system and application configurations, as well as security and system state. The holistic orchestration allows for faster recovery than BaaS.
The difference between BaaS and DRaaS can be illustrated with a simple analogy. Imagine your house is wrecked by fire.
|DRaaS Recovery – What You Get||BaaS Recovery – What You Get|
|DRaaS Recovery – What You Get With DraaS, after a disaster, you will have access to your “entire house back” as if by magic. Complete and ready to move into.||With BaaS, you will get back all the contents of your house. However, you will still need to purchase another house in which to put these contents (furniture, etc.)|
No two businesses are the same. The decision on whether to choose BaaS or DRaaS for your business depends on what you’re trying to protect yourself against. You can choose BaaS, DRaaS or even a mixture of both BaaS and DRaaS solutions to have sufficient coverage of risks while optimizing costs.
An online clothing retail business with hundreds of small online transactions per day will likely suffer more from an IT system failure than a hardware retail store with a physical location that sells 10 items a week.
To optimize costs, begin by organizing your datasets into tiers. Are all your systems critical or just some? For the most critical systems for which you cannot afford long/unknown periods of downtime, you can invest in DRaaS for the fastest recovery time. For less important datasets, for instance, archives, BaaS would be sufficient as speed of recovery is not necessary. In this case, choosing BaaS for the lower recovery tier is a good option because it will be cheaper than a DRaaS solution.
Also, in general, if your concern is merely the protection of your data against corruption or data loss, BaaS is a perfectly sufficient and appropriate service. Businesses are far more likely to restore data because of human or system error than they are to restore an entire server because of a fire or similar disaster.
Only a small fraction of businesses suffer the kind of failure that requires DRaaS. That said, when a business reaches a certain size, it becomes more necessary – sometimes even due to industry regulations or legal compliance reasons – that organizations can prove their preparedness for disasters of all magnitudes. This is typically when DRaaS becomes necessary.
DRaaS is also a good solution for IT teams that would like to offload the heavy-lifting of setting up and managing remote data centers to an experienced third-party provider who will be responsible for setup and monitoring of infrastructure, data center security, replication and support when you need to failover to the disaster recovery environment.
If you need your systems up and running again in no time, choose DRaaS, but if your business can survive several hours or a couple of days or weeks while systems are restored, BaaS will suffice.
Here are some typical scenarios on when BaaS may be a better choice than DRaaS and vice versa.
|When BaaS is Appropriate||When DRaaS is appropriate|
|Datasets in question do not change often.||Datasets change frequently, and having the most recent data version is crucial to business operations.|
|The business can handle downtime for days or weeks (rather than hours to minutes) with little or no negative impact on revenue or brand reputation.||Low appetite for extended downtime – where this could quickly lead to loss of brand reputation, loss of revenue, etc.|
|Some data loss is acceptable because, with BaaS, changes made between the last backup and the disaster event will be lost.||Fast, full recovery of both data and infrastructure are imperative. This may be dictated by client requirements, industry regulations or legal requirements.|
|The in-house IT team is adequately skilled to restore existing infrastructure following a disaster.||Setup and monitoring of disaster recovery site would be difficult to perform on a regular basis due to limited resources or focus on the business’s strategic goals.|
|Backup services must be outsourced to a third party so that the in-house IT team can focus on other initiatives.||Disaster recovery planning and maintenance must be managed by an expert so the IT team can focus on other core business tasks.|
DRaaS is undoubtedly more costly than BaaS. Therefore, if you truly, truly have pulled all the stops but simply cannot afford DRaaS, do settle for BaaS because any form of data backup is better than none. You may take longer to recover, but your business has a higher chance of surviving a disaster at some point, even if not immediately.
Contact us today to discuss your backup and/or disaster recovery needs and get a quote for your organization.
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