For Disaster Recovery, Look Beyond the Hyperscalers
Choosing a Disaster-recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) provider can be a daunting task, especially if your organization is using DRaaS as a first step into cloud services. There are many choices, from large providers such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, to much smaller or more focused providers.
The question of how to choose a cloud provider for DRaaS is answered by clearly defining your requirements and ensuring that the provider you choose meets those requirements completely. Large cloud service providers, or “hyperscalers,” may seem like the best choice for your cloud needs.
However, choosing a provider based on the size of its organization is not always the best criteria. Hyperscalers do bring advantages to the table, but there are also benefits to choosing smaller cloud providers that can provide individual attention and deliver custom services. Looking beyond the hyperscalers can benefit your organization in the following ways.
Got Virtual Machines?
Many hyperscalers require changes to virtual machines (VMs) and host configurations to successfully host within the provider’s infrastructure. If the customer has an onpremises infrastructure that’s built heavily on VMware vSphere, migrating to a hyperscaler as a DR target may require conversions to its VM format.
Also, beyond conversions, it’s possible that an outofbox approach to VMware hosting from the hyperscaler may not provide the flexibility that existing environments require. Additionally, many of the hyperscalers today utilize proprietary layers that require help desk tickets to gain access to your backend systems. That’s a layer of complexity and a point of failure that you might be better off without.
This is where a smaller, bespoke provider can immediately add value and reduce headaches. Smaller-scale providers often give customers more flexibility to access its equipment, migrate workloads on and offpremises, and maintain the frontend management system it’s used to. When choosing a DRaaS provider, make sure a hyperscaler isn’t simply chosen due to its sheer size, marketing, and ubiquity. Find a provider that will work to suit your organization’s configurations and requirements.
Accommodating Support Models
In addition to custom services and flexible infrastructures, bespoke cloud providers can offer a more personalized support experience. In the middle of the night when there’s an application outage, will the support individual have an intimate understanding of your organization’s systems? Or will you be routed around to different techs who only rely on notes in the account file?
With a smaller provider, it’s more likely the tech on the other end, or even their coworkers, will have spoken with you before, and will have a better understanding of what your systems entail. The point is, while not all small providers are created equal, some are able to immediately meet the needs of your organization from multiple perspectives—from onboarding to support.
Look Beyond $/GB
Cost efficiency is one of the major benefits of cloud providers. Most providers offer you consumptionbased pricing, which means you pay only for the resources you consume, not the entire system, which is the case with onpremises infrastructure. This is typically represented with $/GB or $/vCPU/hour. With consumptionbased pricing models, utilization is significantly higher than dedicated infrastructure, reducing the cost of idle capacity.
However, with some hyperscalers there can be a big catch. While a low $/GB can be enticing, the reality is that this price may not include many other necessary resources such as network, bandwidth, egress, and other costs. As can be expected, many customers don’t know how much bandwidth (as an example) they use over a period of time. Some get sticker shock when they receive their monthly bill.
This is where smaller providers can shine. The ability to consolidate all costs into a simple metric can have tremendous value from a forecasting perspective. So, when comparing $/GB, it’s best practice to make sure you know what’s included.
Getting to the Cloud
One of the major barriers to cloud adoption is, in fact, migrating to the cloud itself. It’s not often this is included with that $/GB mentioned earlier. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Most hyperscalers are great at providing the infrastructure you need, but don’t directly provide the services that would reduce the time and risk to onboard. In the case of customers with existing applications, moving VMs from an onpremises infrastructure to the cloud isn’t a trivial exercise. The benefit of a smaller provider, in this case, is the ability to provide onboarding services to ensure successful deployment.
Looking beyond hyperscalers will do more than just open up opportunities for new price competition, it will likely introduce custom services and capabilities from which many companies can immediately benefit. Whether it’s strategy, migration, management, or premium support services, customers looking for new cloud services benefit from researching smaller providers that not only fill gaps left from hyperscalers, they can often look beyond the service itself and provide a true partner in IT.