RaaS, say hello to the Public Cloud

Those familiar with the Recovery as a Service (RaaS) industry know that there are typically three different use-case scenarios that characterize the market today:

1.  Medium and Enterprise customers that leverage a mixture of private, hybrid, and value-added services which are brought to market by established service providers offering RaaS to their customers.

2.  SMB organizations that tend to prefer the appliance BC/DR model.  These consumers like the all-in-one approach that allows them to get everything in a simple package that backs data up to the provider’s cloud or to a public cloud, with little to no customization required.  A low cost, low customizability offering that focuses as much on backup as it does RaaS.

3.  Other customers who continually look to uniquely leverage public cloud providers, like Amazon, Google, Azure, etc., to reduce their in-house disaster recovery costs.  These initiatives tend to focus on tools or offerings that can be used to protect data in the public cloud while taking advantage of the low cost infrastructure and internal IT knowledge to make it all happen.

Top-tier RaaS service providers have focused primarily on the first use case: the Medium and Enterprise customers who are actively engaged in cloud modernization and integration with respect to their current DR capabilities. These service providers operate with a tightly focused approach of utilizing their core technologies, infrastructure and competencies to deliver RaaS solutions and offerings.  NTT Communications, the top-ranked RaaS provider in the world, according to Gartner, is a model example.  It leverages its global Enterprise Cloud to deliver “around-the-world” RaaS capability, creating huge value for multi-national organizations.  HP is another important player in this space, having recently launched a RaaS offering that leverages its CloudSystem Matrix program. HP’s partners leverage this initiative by incorporating a complete hardware, software, and services program allowing them the ability to launch a RaaS solution either in a public, private or hybrid model.

While these service providers, and other like them, continue to evolve their product offerings and collectively drive the predicted massive growth of RaaS in the upper end of the market, I believe that there is a very interesting RaaS battle taking shape within the Public Cloud arena.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been a proponent of RaaS in the Public Cloud, as I couldn’t accept that businesses would embrace, and integrate their infrastructure with, the Public Cloud without a fight.   Time has a way of shifting one’s thinking, however, and I now believe that RaaS in the Public Cloud is beyond a service possibility – it is on the verge of happening.

Two market dynamics have altered my thinking.

The first is the continued plummeting of Public Cloud price points.  Week-over-week the battle between the heavyweights—primarily Google, Amazon, and Azure—is driving the price of Public Cloud closer and closer to zero.  This is clearly a land (or data) grab, and it is changing the data landscape fundamentally.  When costs begin to approach zero for utilization of somebody else’s compute and storage infrastructure, the business case justification to go out and buy your own infrastructure rapidly disappears.  Already proven in the email space by Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail is that the freemium service model is virtually unstoppable.

The second market dynamic of interest is the multitude of industry reports and analyses that confirm that Cloud utilization is rapidly being accepted within the Public Cloud realm, It’s very clear that the Cloud adoption market is changing, and fast.  A recent study released by RightScale and featured below provides us with a unique insight into this trend.


Which companies are leading this emerging trend?  The RightScale report highlights the leaders (see below), which come as no surprise:


The report predicts that as the “Experimenting” users transition to “Production” users, we should see an increase of 50% or more usage of the Public Cloud, and according to the research, it’s clear that the Public Cloud industry is completely on fire, driven by the land-grab strategy adopted by the industry heavyweights.

So what does this mean for RaaS?  In answering this question it’s interesting to note that studies have confirmed that customer assessment of benefits from leveraging Cloud for business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) continually increases year over year.  In fact, according to the RightScale research, in the last year alone existing users that found additional benefits from RaaS increased by over 10%. This means that those that are using RaaS are realizing benefits well beyond what they initially expected, and further driving RaaS adoption.  Quite simply, customers are getting started with RaaS, seeing increased benefits as a result and then accelerating the rate of deployments protected by it (RaaS).  Couple that with the explosion of Public Cloud, and I believe that it means the following…

RaaS utilization of the Public Cloud is inevitable.

This will drive increased adoption of the use case of RaaS and the Public Cloud.  And with increased adoption comes more features, more flexible deployment models, more value-added capabilities, and more ways to leverage the Cloud.