How to Choose a Disaster Recovery Service Provider

shutterstock_117274840Disaster recovery is a critical capability for enterprises in today’s environment, in which continuous uptime and always-available access to applications and processes are expected. Even the most prepared enterprise that has taken every possible step to avoid potential network interruptions will likely face a disaster or situation from which it must recover.

Enterprises may choose to deploy disaster recovery hardware and software within their premises to respond to unforeseen situations that may disrupt their networks. But an increasingly popular service model provides virtual disaster recovery services for companies that can’t or don’t want to house that capability on-site.

Development of DRaaS

Disaster recovery joins a growing list of critical functions that can now be offered as a service thanks to server virtualization technology. Infrastructure as as Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) are becoming familiar throughout data centers in enterprises of all sizes.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) has joined those offerings as a function that is scalable and flexibile and can save businesses money when offered virtually. DRaaS also allows for the development of greater capabilities and nearly immediate recovery from interruptions regardless of hardware and storage types.

Choosing a Service

When choosing a cloud-based disaster recovery service, several factors should be considered before making a final vendor choice.

  • ​Availability of Resources. Perhaps the most important factor is whether the service guarantees the availability of resources when they are needed. If no guarantee is made, there is a possibility that recovery services won’t be available when they are needed most.
  • ​Service Restoration Objectives. A plan that includes objectives about how quickly service can be restored is important. A recovery point objective should occur within seconds of an outage, and a recovery time objective should specify recovery within minutes. The number of servers that must be recovered will affect recovery time. Furthermore, the customer should be able to view the disaster recovery environment to verify that objectives and service level agreements (SLAs) are being met.
  • Seamless Deployment. The service provider’s environment should interface with the company’s virtual environment without the need for software or hardware upgrades. Storage technology should be neutral, allowing the enterprise and DRaaS systems to interface whether or not the storage technology used is the same.
  • ​Management. The DRaaS provider should have complete responsibility for managing the disaster recovery process. This includes providing and installing software, managing the replication process to make sure it occurs without error, and ensuring failover occurs seamlessly during a disaster.
  • ​Server Replication. Continuous replication of servers is crucial to effective disaster recovery, and point in time restoration and recovery should be provided.

Benefits of DRaaS

In a time of crisis or during a disaster, an enterprise may have many areas to focus on and processes and systems to restore. Offloading recovery functions to a third party that specializes in disaster recovery can remove at least one burden during what could be a chaotic time.

Choosing the right disaster recovery provider is crucial to ensure the restoration process goes smoothly. It is important to take time to understand what the service provider offers, along with what guarantees and SLAs it provides. Making the right choice can be the difference between a quick recovery and a prolonged headache.

Advantages of WebRTC for Enterprises

shutterstock_218151172Communications has evolved greatly from the days of voice-only telephone calls to a wide array of voice, video, and data-based interactions over multiple devices. Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) uses a standard web browser to offer real-time communications services such as video, voice, file sharing, and chat.

 
 

The Basics of WebRTC

WebRTC powers new tools such as customer-service chat features on mobile devices and mobile video collaboration among employees within an enterprise. Relatively basic Javascript code allows WebRTC interfaces to be embedded in applications and web pages that allow users to access them with the touch of a button.

An open-source project backed by Google, WebRTC is making inroads into the real-time communications market, which has been dominated by consumer-driven applications such as Skype and FaceTime. But within enterprises, WebRTC’s influence is growing and could challenge similar products like unified communications (UC) tools, over-the-top applications, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and video conferencing offerings.

​The Benefits of WebRTC

While it faces stout competition in the marketplace, WebRTC offers several benefits that may give it an edge among similar products.

  • Simple Operation. Existing real-time communications tools are already fairly straightforward and easy to use, but WebRTC enables a new level of simplicity. WebRTC interactions are designed to be launched with a click on a link or a tap of a button. Plugins and various interfaces are eliminated, which reduces the amount of support needed to make real-time communications tools useful for customer interactions.
  • Lower Costs. WebRTC will help usher in a trend of lower costs associated with UC and other forms of enterprise communications because it operates peer to peer and eliminates expensive, proprietary gatekeepers. Rather than paying per-call fees, customers might instead pay for network availability guarantees and other value-added services.
  • Added Context. While the communications environment is undergoing revolutionary changes, communications links still largely remain pipes without context. WebRTC is changing that dynamic. Because it is embedded, the point of initiation of the session can add context and data to the interaction. This type of context can, for example, provide a customer service agent with information about who is initiating the interaction and why.
  • Wider Deployment. Communications capabilities today are being built as standalone applications and tools. But the need to be able to communicate is ubiquitous. WebRTC transforms communications into a feature that can be built into endless applications and tools.

WebRTC Revolution

It remains to be seen how WebRTC will stack up against traditional communications tools and how it might change the marketplace. With its potential to lower costs while adding valuable data and richness to interactions, WebRTC appears to be well positioned to stake a claim in the real-time communications market.

WebRTC could be advantageous for applications developers who want to add communications features to applications but lack the knowledge to do so with more traditional communications tools. Ultimately, end users stand to gain the most from the WebRTC revolution because low-cost, easy-to-use communications tools will be available whenever and wherever they need them.