Geminare Blog

Friday, Nov 11, 2011

RaaS – from Evolution to Revolution


By Joshua Geist, CEO Geminare
Kim Davis, the Editor of a popular blog called the Internet Evolution, consistently posts insightful articles on technology trends. One that really resonated with me was his November 7th 2011 post, titled, “The Midmarket Appeal of Recovery as a Service.” I’ve been involved in Recovery as a Service since its inception helping to enable both partners and technologies in the space, so I hope I speak with some credibility when I say that Mr. Davis gets it. 
Recovery as a Service, or RaaS, is the fundamental shift happening within the Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) industry through the utilization of Cloud Computing. This transition to Cloud-based services is causing major players to shift priorities and focus on both catching up and attempting to remain relevant within their respective industries. With Cloud Computing, the BC/DR industry has fundamentally rebuilt itself almost overnight and created a virtual wasteland of existing technologies and players trying to play catch-up; a topic to be explored in a future blog.
In the early days, RaaS appealed mostly to small businesses that had mission-critical data protection requirements, but that just didn’t have the IT resources, time or money to invest in traditional “build-it” solutions. Those first RaaS solutions were introduced in 2008 (pre-Cloud) and were in-market at about $900/month, which was still a bargain compared to the hundreds of thousands it required to deal with the Enterprise providers of “build-it” solutions. The early adopters included financial institutions, law firms and professional service organizations – companies who consistently worked with time-sensitive data and couldn’t afford significant downtime.
When the Cloud emerged, a few things happened. First of all, companies of all shapes and sizes started to explore the economic benefits of “on-demand” computing, while simultaneously posing the same questions that have greeted every “we-don’t-own-it” technology: Is it secure? Is it reliable? Does it meet our performance standards?
We now know that the answer to these questions is a resounding “Yes” on all fronts, reinforced by the very nature of the companies who are making major investments in the Cloud: big, secure, reliable, high-performance companies like HP, CenturyLink, Microsoft, and so many more that I can’t list them all out here.
Another important development with the emergence of the Cloud was economy of scale. The result in the RaaS market has been significant price reductions with offerings now widely available in the $400-$500 a month range from multiple top-tier suppliers. This virtually eliminated the benefits to small and mid-market companies of using traditional DR/BC technologies and suppliers as compared to the emerging Cloud-based offerings.
So, with better pricing and acceptance of the Cloud as cost-effective, secure, reliable, high-performance technology, we are now seeing exactly what Kim Davis has observed: that the mid-market is seeing the light and starting to explore and adopt RaaS as a cornerstone of its data protection strategies. The justifications between Cloud-based RaaS and “Build it Yourself DR” are so overwhelmingly in favour of On-Demand RaaS solutions that even traditional providers are rebuilding existing teams and products to focus exclusively on the Cloud.
Another area in which RaaS has caused a dramatic shift is with the traditional software vendors. We’re seeing leading data protection software vendors like CA Technologies partnering with emerging Cloud powerhouses like Microsoft to bring a whole new suite of services to the mid-market. Offerings such as CA’s upcoming ArcServe D2D OnDemand are expected to capitalize on the shift from on-premises solutions to Cloud-based offerings. When you see industry leaders like Microsoft and CA partner to tackle a whole new delivery model for solutions in the RaaS space, you undoubtedly expect to see major things happen. I firmly believe that this powerful alliance will soon be attracting mid-market users from around the globe seeking to take advantage of the benefits of Cloud-based data protection.
Davis gets it. And since his focus is where the mid-market is heading, I’ll extend his vision by stating that it’s not just the mid-market that is now embracing RaaS. Across our partner base we’re seeing huge amounts of interest and proof of concept implementations in the Enterprise accounts now moving into this space, confidently ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery of mission-critical applications through adoption of RaaS in the Cloud.
My prediction: the RaaS revolution has arrived and within the next 24 months, with the mid-market leading the charge, RaaS will become the de facto standard for data protection. 

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