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2nd Watch launches cloud-based disaster recovery service

COVID-19 is accelerating interest in disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), and 2nd Watch says it can facilitate the process and reduce cost using AWS.

Professional and managed cloud services vendor 2nd Watch recently launched a new service to help customers set up cloud disaster recovery in fewer than 30 days.

The new service sets an organization up for failover to the AWS cloud. It includes everything necessary to get a customer to that point -- disaster recovery (DR) planning, consultation, proof of concept for up to 100 machines, testing, training and documentation. 2nd Watch claims it can get all of that running so a customer can failover to the cloud within a month of setting up.

2nd Watch Cloud Disaster Recovery Service is powered by CloudEndure, which AWS acquired in January 2019. The CloudEndure software enables continuous data replication and failover to the cloud through agents installed on the source machines. Data is constantly being replicated to the cloud into a low-cost "staging area" containing VMs, disks and snapshots. During a failover, CloudEndure automatically reassembles workloads from the staging area in minutes.

Dusty Simoni, senior product manager of managed cloud services at 2nd Watch, said cloud DR represents significant cost savings compared to traditional, site-to-site DR. Duplicating resources such as hardware, networking, compute and storage just for a system to sit idle until a worst-case scenario is inefficient, especially since cloud DR can achieve the same level of availability.

"Traditional DR is cost-prohibitive," Simoni said.

CloudEndure claims the cost savings of its staging area reduces the total cost of DR by an average of 80%.

2nd Watch focuses on upper mid-market and enterprise customers with annual IT spending of $25 million or more. Other than the new DR service, 2nd Watch offers cost optimization and migration services. Simoni said the DR service came about because many 2nd Watch customers making the move to the cloud had to rethink their DR planning as part of the process.

The cost for 2nd Watch's DR service is $25,000 for everything up to the proof of concept for 100 machines. The cost to build out will be determined by the number of machines. AWS and CloudEndure costs are not included in the price, but Simoni said an organization can expect to pay $50,000 to $75,000 to get fully set up. Simoni said there are plans to offer a quarterly DR testing service, if he sees customer demand for it.

Krista Macomber, senior analyst at Evaluator Group, said interest in DRaaS is growing due to increased cyberthreats. Ransomware can render a business inoperable just the same as any natural disaster, and DR lets organizations stay up and running in either case. However, the increased work-from-home workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic opened up new vectors for attacks, driving renewed demand for DR.

Citing an Evaluator Group study published in April 2020 titled Enterprise IT Responds to COVID-19, Macomber said many organizations are investing in IT initiatives that are related to supporting a remote workforce. The areas organizations are focusing on are security, data protection/DR and public cloud.

"This is where the COVID-19 situation is accelerating things," Macomber said. "There's some urgency now."

While the technology for DR is offered from pretty much every data protection vendor, Macomber said DRaaS is less common. DRaaS is complex to deploy at the enterprise scale. The vendor would need to develop a deep understanding of its customers' infrastructure and needs, as well as their business needs. This leads to a large amount of consultation, which factors into whether an enterprise determines it's worthwhile to have a third party walk them through setting up DR. Vendors offering DRaaS include Iland (using Zerto technology), Veeam, IBM and StorageCraft.

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