Virtual Machine cloud replication and restoration to boom

SMBs moving toward recovery-as-a-service; large firms go slow

By 2014, almost one in three midsize businesses will be using a recovery-as-a-service (RaaS) with the ability to backup and restore virtual machines (VMs), according to Gartner.

Gartner predicted that 30% of companies will use RaaS over the next few years, with the market being driven, for now, by midsize companies. The research firm defines those as having annual revenues between $150 million and $1 billion.

Today, just over 1% of midsize businesses use RaaS as part it their operations. The service, which allows the managed replication of VMs to a service-provider's cloud, can eliminate the need to pay as much as $100,000 a year as part of an in-house disaster recovery budget, Gartner said.

According to John Morency, research vice president at Gartner, among the midsize companies now using RaaS two camps are forming. The first is using server virtualization recovery features and SAN-based replication to deploy in-house disaster recovery for some applications. The second is implementing early pilots for the use of cloud services as an alternative to more traditional disaster recovery resources.

RaaS addresses four IT problems, according to Gartner:

  • Recovery testing/exercise costs
  • Change skew, or the consistency between current production data and applications and their state at the time of recovery
  • Initial recovery configuration complexity
  • Testing scope, or how best to determine what should take place when and how often.

RaaS providers include smaller players such as Bluelock, Doyenz and nScaled as well as some of the more established hosting providers such as Savvis, Terremark, and In addition, all three of the large disaster recovery service providers (HP, IBM and SunGard) all rolled out their recovery-in-the-cloud offerings this year, Morency said.

"Our best estimate is that the RaaS market has been reasonably active since early 2009, so it's been growing for about 2.5 years now," he added.

For at least the next couple of years, large enterprises in most verticals are not likely to go the RaaS route, according to Morency. They're likely to prefer on-premise backup.

For companies interested in trying RaaS, Gartner recommends performing a cloud infrastructure due diligence, "especially for systems that already reside primarily outside their data center," Morency said.

"They should then qualify system image replication and failover support and probe how the provider can support application connectivity during recovery testing," he said. "They also need to check provider operations controls for potential regulatory compliance exposure and pilot a bounded implementation of the target configuration."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is .

Read more about virtualization in Computerworld's Virtualization Topic Center.

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Tags cloud computinginternetGartnerdisaster recoverysoftwareapplicationsvirtualizationBusiness Continuity

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