Industry analysts predict that the market for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) will grow at an unprecedented rate in the next few years.
According to Gartner, Inc., DRaaS spending in the U.S. will increase to $1.2 billion (£766 million) by 2017. TechNavio echoes this surge, forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 54.64 per cent between 2014 and 2018.
The primary driver for this uptick in demand is simple: cost savings. By outsourcing backup and disaster recovery processes to services providers, organisations can save time and money in recovering from outages and disasters. It goes without saying that this demand represents a lucrative opportunity for you - but only if you know how to capture it.
Following are four tips for achieving higher sales and profits through a DRaaS offering:
#1: Recover more data for more servers faster than ever before.
Mid-market companies are saving increasing volumes of data. This means they face greater challenges for data protection, and require reliable service level agreements (SLAs) for backups as well as the ability to replicate data offsite for disaster recovery.
Because they typically need to achieve more aggressive recovery time objectives (RTOs) involving a large number of servers and massive amounts of data simultaneously, you must be able to offer mid-market customers hybrid cloud strategies that ensure local as well as offsite backup. Products with global deduplication are essential to minimise usage of WAN bandwidth when replicating offsite and guarantee the efficient use of backup storage to meet recovery point objectives (RPOs).
Look for technology that allows seamless instant recovery of virtual and physical environments for both on-premise and offsite backup and recovery. Support for warm standby virtualisation is also important to hit more aggressive RTOs by allowing for failover of virtualised applications to a secondary site. Automated disaster recovery failover and testing is key to proving RTOs and RPOs in advance. This kind of functionality assures that you can minimise the time to recover critical applications in the event of a customer outage or disaster.
#2: Protect heterogeneous environments without adding complexity.
Mid-market companies typically have more complex, heterogeneous environments than smaller businesses. And, as they grow, they must manage both virtual and physical servers, as well as multiple networks, applications and operating systems.
Therefore, by utilising a single solution with heterogeneous capabilities to protect all operating systems and applications in your customers’ environments, you can gain a powerful competitive advantage. With a centralised management approach, you can eliminate “point product creep” and avoid having to add a variety of point products to meet the multiple platform demands of mid-market customers.
For example, seek solutions that protect virtual environments at the host operating system (HOS) level to avoid the headache of installing agents on every virtual machine (VM) or having to put in the extra effort of granularly targeting each VM during backup. At the same time, you will want to protect physical machines with agents in order to get the ultimate granular restore and Bare Metal Restore (BMR) capabilities necessary for proper backup and recovery.
Additionally, you should be able to replicate and pre-stage disaster recovery environments in your own data center in order to guarantee the flexibility to meet customers’ expectations.
#3: Ensure rapid and reliable scalability without adding more products.
In attracting more mid-market customers, it’s highly likely you will have to support a wider range of customer needs for scalability. This can easily lead to adding different solutions for each customer profile under your portfolio - a recipe for operational disaster.
Supporting multiple products quickly becomes very costly, requiring considerable effort to maintain training certifications and multiple technology partner relationships. Too many product options also add complexity to the sales cycle, slowing revenue realisation and cash flow.
Consequently, it makes sense to adopt data protection solutions that cover the entire spectrum of mid-market customer growth needs. This ensures consistency in business operations and enables optimal use of in-house resources. Seek a unified approach that provides functionality which scales from a single VM or appliance, to hundreds of VMs, physical servers and multiple apps, up to thousands of VMs in highly complex enterprise environments.
#4: Give customers concrete recovery assurance.
Customers demand that you will respond quickly to resolve any issues or challenges they experience. Therefore, it’s imperative that the data protection solutions you provide are not only backed by fast, effective support, but equally important, allow for testing of critical backup and recovery processes that ensures promised services will flawlessly execute when needed.
You should have the ability to frequently conduct automated, application-level testing and report on recovery time actuals (RTAs) in order to always meet customer SLAs. With these capabilities, you can minimise the cost and time necessary for customers to verify recovery, helping them to conserve staff resources for use on other, more productive tasks.
The success of your business depends on delivering data protection solutions that work as intended. Consider these tips as you seek to capture a greater share of the DRaaS market by delivering recovery assurance that will enable your customers to peacefully sleep at night.
Bob Gagnon, VP of Channel Sales Worldwide, Unitrends