Ask the Experts: Leveraging DRaaS in a BCDR Strategy

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses leveraging DRaaS to help customers create a disaster recovery strategy with Evolve IP’s Scott Kinka. Learn more about DRaaS from the Evolve IP team here:

Andrew: We’ve been chatting about BCDRbusiness continuity and disaster recovery–and to really kind of go deeper on this conversation around DRaaSdisaster recovery as a service–we’re bringing in one of our favorite faculty members, Scott Kinka, CTO of Evolve IP. Scott, welcome back, man.
Scott: Absolutely thrilled to be here.
Andrew: All right, good. I love the headset by the way. Looks like, what were you saying, you’re going to guide in an airplane, aircraft carrier?
Scott: Guide servers onto the aircraft carrier for DRBC.
Andrew: Excellent, fantastic. Let’s talk about this DRaaS space. BCDR: really hot topic right now as we … Just in the past few years it seems like we’ve been hammered with big, big news; big headlines around natural disasters, and around data breaches. It’s becoming a really significant topic for a lot of customers and a great jumping off point, we’re finding, to cloud conversations. Talk about that and specifically, how are you guys positioning your own DRaaS offering? How is it unique? Talk about it.
Scott: I think there’s an important distinction to make because Evolve IP and other service providers are beginning to really phrase out DR-as-a-Service as a separate segment, as opposed to sort of DR being one of those default benefits you get out of cloud. I think that it’s important to make that distinction. Sort of the default benefit of DR, of getting anything from the cloud, is that it’s operating someplace else, and it’s in a high-end facility with security and redundancy and all those things. And you would expect that that’s the case, certainly by putting it offsite. It’s not on my site if I have a natural disaster. You get the idea, fairly straightforward.
I think the distinction with DR-as-a-Service is really figuring out the how. And the how is … The reason why things have changed is for years and years, customers have been figuring out ways to leverage our infrastructure cloud services for their own DR. You buy disk, you buy computing. I make a copy over there, and then I, as the IT department–this is the DIY portion of it–I have to figure out when I have a problem, how I’m going to use that. How do I get people there? How do I get data back from it?
It’s not a service around DR so much as it is a service for getting data someplace else, right? That’s how it’s been leveraged. For DR-as-a-Service, the focus is really around delivering an automated replication and deployment methodology for businesses to be able to spot leverage the cloud and really get the rest of that story. Not just, “Is my data copied someplace else?” but is it usable? That’s what our DR-as-a-Service products are based around. Really managing at an application layer the failover and failback, the copy and the replication, as opposed to … So underneath, it’s still our infrastructure as a service product. It’s still our disk, still our storage, but it’s wrapped in applications that enable a customer to leverage it when and if they have a problem.
Andrew: Got it, interesting. Help me with this. Suppose for a moment we have a customer that is not comfortable yet moving to the cloud and putting all their data, all their infrastructure, in the cloud. Yet they want a better disaster recovery strategy. Can you use your applications there on DRaaS as a standalone offer?
Scott: Without any question. Yeah. It’s one of the … It’s becoming a landing product. We talk about … We sell lots of things. We talk about the things that become–I think you used the term earlier–a jumping off point for movement into the cloud. As soon as you begin to have that cloud discussion, there’s a lot of reasons why a business might not be comfortable moving every server to the cloud. But DR, as you said, is a great stepping off point. Our offerings are based really around what the source material is. So when we do a DR discussion, there are three questions we ask–and feel free to get on the education center. We have our qualification guide on there, and these are the questions that talk about how to have the DR conversation. It’s RTO, RPO. I’ll define them in a minute, and then source.
Let’s start with source. Source is where’s the primary system? Is it on a physical on-site? Is it already virtualized on-site or is already in Evolve’s cloud? Those are your three source options. Then what you request that the business do is really make some decisions around RTO, RPO. RTO is recovery time objective, right? If it goes does down, how quickly until I’m running on the other side. And then recovery point is, how old’s the data? Is it two minutes old or is it last night’s backup old? It’s amazing when you really sit down with C-level executives, they have no idea frankly what their RTO and RPO should be.
It’s obviously different per server, too. Email or CRM might be more critical than file storage, right? We enable our customers to bring any of those products. There are basically three main products that we have that are focused on those sources. We’ve got a DRaaS DT, which is based around physical boxes. We have DRaaS ZT, which is based around virtualized boxes. We have our DRaaS SRM product which is the fail and failover and failback between Evolve IP clouds. The real hot topic today, frankly, is the DRaaS ZT, which is a hypervisor-based failover and failback. If they’re running VMware or they’re running Microsoft Hyper-V locally, it’s very simple installs within literally hours type of product, where they have a local hypervisor. We install an appliance in our cloud. They do it in their cloud. They talk to each other. It shows them all their machines that are in that virtual–in their local cloud, if you will. They pick them; they pick an RTO; pick an RPO; press the button, and it starts populating to the cloud.
Andrew: Beautiful. Wow, that’s impressive. Very cool stuff, and a great, great jumping off point. That’s really good detail on this. We’ve talked about RTO and RPO in our trainings here, and great to get your insight on how you guys are leveraging those simple acronyms to help a customer make a decision. Because that’s not an easy thing for them, right? They haven’t really thought through it in those terms necessarily.
Scott: The biggest problem with DR in any case is the failure to have a plan.
Andrew: Right, right. No doubt.
Scott: Most businesses don’t. When you begin to ask those questions, they’re are hard questions, but they’re value questions. While the Sales Partner might not be in position necessarily to take the DRaaS conversation all the way through the engineering, the key is that they begin to ask the tough questions to add that value to the process. And those are the C-level questions, right? The C-levels don’t care about what the hypervisor is. They care about, “Wow, I’ve had this value added to my internal DR and BC strategy by this partner out here who’s asking me the tough questions.” Which systems are important? Should we scope them into Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 importance on the server side of the house? Real high-value opportunity for Sales Partners to have a real high-value conversation at the C-level.
Andrew: Yeah, awesome. Great stuff. Well hey Scott, thanks again, man. I love going into this kind of depth with you. You always have great wisdom for our Sales Partners, so I appreciate you carving out the time, my friend.
Scott: Certainly.
Andrew: Good deal. That’s Scott Kinka, CTO of Evolve IP, one of our go-to cloud providers in our portfolio. We’re crushing it with them. And guys, make sure you check out their learning center. Some of the sales tools that Scott referenced around float, and their whole sales process, and the questions you can be asking to help design a DRaaS solution from the get-go are really, really valuable. So go deep there guys and keep getting smarter about how to sell these solutions, especially with Evolve IP. We’re big, big fans and we continue to win big with them. You can too. Scott, thank you and everyone, good selling.