For Disaster Recovery, Size Matters -- And So Does Virtualization - InformationWeek

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Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul

For Disaster Recovery, Size Matters -- And So Does Virtualization

Did you know that how big your company is can determine whether you should get your disaster recovery as Software as a Service (Saas), as software, or as a managed software?

Did you know that how big your company is can determine whether you should get your disaster recovery as Software as a Service (Saas), as software, or as a managed software?That's the logic laid out by Karen Jaworksi, director of product management for i365, A Seagate Company created last fall out of Seagate's acquisition of a number of storage services businesses. i365 offers all three products to some 22,000 customers, so Jaworski may have a less biased than more-specialized competitors.

Here's the idea:

1. Small companies with only a couple terabytes of data should take advantage of SaaS offerings for disaster recovery, Jaworski says, because this approach offers the lowest start-up costs and demands the least amount of work for the user. Typically, they'd pay for the service via a per gigabyte monthly fee. If you don't have the resources to do deal with, pay someone else to take care of it for you.

2. Slightely larger outfits -- with a handful of IT staffers and 5-10 terabytes of data -- may find it cheaper and more manageable to take disaster recovery in house, she says. They would typically buy a 1-time, perpetual software license, and Jaworski says this approach could be more cost effective depending on how the company handles the capital expenditures. I guess if you have the resources and want to "hug your servers," why not?

3. Midsize companies with 10-15 terabytes of data often want to keep everything in house for compliance and other reasons, Jaworski explains, but may no longer want to focus on things that aren't part of their core competency. With this approach, the company buys the software and hosts it on their own machines, but an outside company like i365 manages it remotely. At this point, she says, the choice is no longer only about pricing, but includes IT strategy issues as well as the overall expertise and aptitude of the IT department. With managed services, the company has everything in house, but doesn't have to hire someone just to manage data recovery and backup.

For all of these options, Jaworski says, "virtualization creates a whole new cost structure" leading to "a whole new world in what can be offered." Virtualization makes storage and recovery so much more efficient that companies can back up more kinds of data -- from files to applications to entire Web sites without spending thousands of dollars a month. Even as large enterprises fight those costs by virtualizing their own servers, smaller companies can also take advantage of virtualization by using service providers who are virtualizing their data in the cloud.

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