Having the right DR plan enables IT managers to focus on their core business.
Busy IT managers sure do have a lot on their plate; it's a fulltime job trying to match up the latest technology options with the endless demands of the business users in a way that keeps everybody happy. The last thing you really want to think about is disaster preparedness, but if a disaster does strike your organization, you know that everyone will be looking to you to get the machines up and running again as quickly as possible and without any dreaded data loss. Have you ever considered Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)?
DRaaS is actually the most popular and prevalent of the cloud services options. It's emerging quickly in the IBM i world, fueled by the arrival of IBM PureFlex system, which is tailor-made for cloud DR. When you think about it, having the ability to replicate your data in real time across any distance to a service provider's data center running a virtualized backup is an exciting prospect.
Tape to DIY
Over the past 10 years, IBM i shops have been moving away from disaster recovery plans that depend on tape as the primary means of recovery. Tape backups are often unreliable, can be days old, and take hours (or longer) to restore when needed after a disaster. Real-time data replication delivers much better recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs). IT managers build their own DR infrastructure in-house. This is truly a DIY model, where a second IBM i is set aside for DR and configured in an alternate location. High availability (HA) software is purchased or leased, and the whole thing is monitored, managed, and tested internally. This model works great and has been getting progressively less expensive as hardware, software, and bandwidth continue to drop in price, but now a new model is emerging—that of DRaaS.
DIY to DRaaS
Now we're seeing customers who would rather outsource their DR to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). That means you don't have to build your own infrastructure; someone else can monitor and manage the replication, and experts can run your DR tests for you. Tape backups can be taken and stored at the MSP without the need for transportation. There are obvious cost savings when the MSP provides the backup box as a virtualized server that delivers "load bursting" when required. If you quickly calculate in your head what an average IT department would pay for their own DR infrastructure—a backup server that's big enough to run the business should the production server fail, network and data center costs, software, management, and monitoring—that's quite a big number. The MSP can deliver all this in a service-level agreement (SLA)-driven monthly fee.
Why Is DRaaS So Popular?
DRaas has a lot to offer.
- No hardware purchase required
- No software purchase needed
- No up-front capital investment for end customers
- Fully monitored and managed service
- Regular testing undertaken by service provider
- Data center services
- No long-term commitment
- Access to technical experts
The Defense Strategy
One such IBM i-centric MSP is Oxford Networks. Located in a former U.S. Navy Command and Control Headquarters in Brunswick, Maine, the facility combines a military-grade high-security data center with a high-speed fibre-optic network. The facility is constructed with reinforced concrete, two barbed wire fences, and access control on all entrances securing the perimeter. With unprecedented levels of security and redundancy, they have the ability to configure any amount of bandwidth required across the USA. Add in some specialist IBM i HA and DR skills, and you can understand why EJ Prescott (EJP) chose Oxford Networks as their DRaaS supplier.
Tailored DRaaS Offering
EJ Prescott is a Maine-based, multi-company corporation with locations in nine states. As the company has grown, so has its need for a reliable business continuity solution that provides peace of mind for team EJP. Oxford Networks was able to work with the EJP IT management team to configure just the right solution.
The solution crafted for EJP leverages the resources of the Oxford Networks data center and the Oxford Networks fiber-optic network. The Oxford Networks data center uses IBM Power7 systems that are virtualized to deliver the DR hardware requirements. This enables Oxford Networks to provide the DRaaS platform in a secure, power managed, and environmentally controlled facility at a cost much lower than if the DR hardware was purchased separately.
Oxford Networks' skilled professionals worked with team EJP to implement the DRaaS solution with little to no impact to the end users or the business. Ongoing proactive monitoring of the DR replication environment and failover or role-swap testing, along with maintaining the environment, is handled by the Oxford Networks Data Center MSP Team.
The result for team EJP is a disaster recovery solution they can count on, that minimizes their workload and provides them with peace of mind, knowing that their data is constantly monitored and managed by a team of experts.
By taking away all the pressure and stress of needing to be prepared for a disaster, DRaaS enables IT managers to better focus on the core business and meet the demands of the users. Having DRaaS delivers real savings in both time and money and will allow your business to leverage the latest technology options on offer from IBM and Managed Service Providers.