Disaster Recovery as a Service and the New ‘Not Invented Here’ Syndrome

The ‘not invented here’ syndrome was something that forward-looking corporations set out to beat about 20 years ago. If a different product or service could be more cost-effectively bought in rather than being designed and manufactured in-house, then it was bought in. The challenge was to overcome misplaced pride and internal turf wars, where being asked to give up control over development could be construed as an attack on credibility, status or both. Some departments resisted by refusing to work with something that was ‘not invented here’. Now, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) may be plagued with a similar issue, where companies cannot look outside what they already have – but for a different reason.

Disaster recovery is only really effective if all the components of a system are adequately recovered. That includes platform elements such as operating systems and middleware, application software, user and application data, and connecting networking elements. When a disaster recovery plan is based on two separate sites, one for primary operation and one for back-up, the two sites must use the same components down to the same versions and configurations in order to guarantee successful system re-starts. Already a challenge for completely in-house configurations, this can be a real headache between a DRaaS provider and its customer’s private cloud.

That puts constraints either on how customers or service providers organise their infrastructures. Either the service provider has to match what the customer has, or vice versa. The difficulty is compounded when DRaaS providers or customers seek to increase resilience by using a range of different partners or providers. For the moment therefore, DRaaS may be best suited to organisations whose applications are already deployed in the cloud. Others using their own physical servers without virtualisation may attain higher confidence levels for successful disaster recovery by sticking to conventional disaster recovery methods such as private remote backup sites or tape archiving off site.