DRaaS is fundamentally different managed hosted DR options in two key ways, Dines says: automation and multi-tenancy. DRaaS is almost fully automated, she says, requiring little human intervention to kick off the recovery process, provision the virtual machines and spin up the necessary applications from the correct storage bins. This is in contrast to a managed service DR plan in which there may be a checklist of technical steps a system admin has to perform. That automation, she says, can significantly improve the speed of recovery and personnel needed to execute a recovery plan after a disaster.
The second difference is the multi-tenancy aspect. When providers can support multiple customers from the same server racks, it creates efficiencies, which lead to generally lower prices compared to managed DR services on dedicated infrastructure for individual customers.
DRaaS began rolling out with four or five providers who retooled their systems for cloud-based offerings a few years ago, says John Morency, Gartner's DR analyst. Now the market has ballooned to more than 100 vendors, ranging from startup pure-play DRaaS vendors to legacy DR heavyweights.
Morency estimates DRaaS is a $425 million to $450 million industry, still only a fraction of the overall $3.5 billion DR market. But Dines characterizes DRaaS as "a pretty big game changer that's shaking up the industry. It's a paradigm shift offering better recovery objectives for the same or less as traditional or outsourced models."
The arrival of the cloud services, she says, is coinciding with organizations looking to update or renew their DR practices to keep pace with their adoption of virtualization technologies.
The market has become an eclectic mix of traditional DR vendors, such as IBM, HP and SunGard who are each now offering cloud-based DR, while some other big players have taken to buying up or partnering with specialists. Dell, for example, teamed with Nirvanix, and CenturyLink scooped up Savvis to get into the cloud and DR market. Then there are the pure-play and startups that have focused their business on DRaaS, including Geminare, Bluelock, Doyenx, eVault, nScaled and Hosting.com, among others.