Symantec, Microsoft Team On Disaster Recovery Service

The DRaaS product will work with the Windows Azure cloud platform to let organizations recover replicated business-critical applications and data.

David Geer, Contributor

June 20, 2012

3 Min Read

Symantec is uniting with the world's largest software vendor to deliver its flavor of the emerging cloud offering, DRaaS.

Symantec last week announced plans to offer disaster-recovery-as-a-service in collaboration with Microsoft. "The Symantec DRaaS solution will recover any Microsoft application," said Jennifer Ellard, senior manager with Symantec's storage and availability management group.

As part of the agreement, Symantec will extend its Veritas Storage Foundation High Availability for Windows (online storage management) and Veritas Volume Replicator disaster recovery software product to the Windows Azure cloud platform. The Azure service will enable organizations of any size to recover replicated business-critical applications and data swiftly and automatically into Windows Azure in the event of a local failure or disaster, according to the Symantec announcement.

Symantec expects its DRaaS product to offer greater flexibility to data centers and IT. "Our customers will be able to start a DR service in Symantec DRaaS for [Microsoft] Exchange, for example, and turn it off the next day. There are a ton of flexibility features like that IT can turn on and off as needed," Ellard said. The service will use the Windows Azure Connector to communicate with the Windows Azure cloud environment. "This will ensure that we are seeing all the data that is newly posted and replicating that data," she said.

"Symantec's customers will use the Windows Azure cloud as an infrastructure-as-a-service platform," said Al Gillen, program VP for operating systems, cloud, and virtualization system software research at IDC. "They will restore to VMs running in Windows Azure and run their applications in the cloud until they are back up. Customers will benefit from the stability and availability of the cloud, and they will only pay for Windows Azure when they need it," Gillen said.

Symantec sees its customers facing increasing challenges related to DR, Ellard said. Customers are running into increasing costs to build, manage, and maintain a second or third DR data center, she said. They are bound to lengthy manual processes associated with completing failovers and making sure everything comes back on line. There is always some data loss when they perform these recoveries. And the customers are not confident in their DR systems, so they test frequently. "These are the challenges that will drive the adoption of DRaaS," said Ellard.

"The cloud is changing how IT organizations handle DR," Gillen said. "While the majority of DR will become recovery to the cloud in 10 to 20 years, the ability to fail over to the cloud is not trivial. DRaaS is becoming a viable alternative. Traditional DR providers are already moving in that direction."

Symantec's forthcoming DRaaS service, expected in 2013, will enable organizations to off-load the capex and opex that would apply when building out and managing additional DR data centers, Ellard said. Symantec plans to exchange its customers' manual recovery processes for a fully automated end-to-end process with little to no data loss. "Customers can test it proactively. And when the disaster occurs, they will have confidence in the recovery process," she said.

Ellard said Symantec DRaaS will improve recovery time and recovery point objectives through the continuous replication, data preservation, and automation that make the service faster than other recovery methods. Symantec sees IT organizations skirting the encumbrances of a separate, physical DR data center site while realizing the benefits of Windows Azure's cloud services.

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