Discussing Disaster Recovery – Acronis International

 Jan-Jaap Jager, Executive Vice President of APJ & Emerging Market, Acronis.

Disaster recovery (DR) often refers to detailed actions taken to recommence IT operations in the aftermath of a catastrophic natural disaster or national emergency.
With the rapid growth of the Internet through the late 1990s and into the 2000s, organisations of all sizes became further dependent on the continuous availability of their IT systems. This increasing dependence on IT systems, as well as increased awareness from large-scale disasters such as tsunami, earthquake, flood, and volcanic eruption, spawned disaster recovery-related products and services, ranging from high-availability solutions to hot-site facilities.
The meteoric rise of cloud computing and virtualisation in recent years further altered the DR landscapes.
In DataStorageAsean’s “Discussing Disaster Recovery” executive interview we looked into the opportunities and challenges of DR vendors in the ASEAN market.
First up is Switzerland-based Acronis International GmbH. Acronis sets the standard for New Generation Data Protection through its backup, disaster recovery, and secure access solutions. Founded in 2003, Acronis protects the data of over five million consumers and 500,000 businesses in over 145 countries. With its more than 50 patents, Acronis’ products have been named best product of the year, and cover a range of features, including migration, cloning and replication.
In this first installment, we talked to Jan-Jaap Jager, Executive Vice President of APJ & Emerging Market, Acronis President International and discuss with him Arconis” business strategy in the region in light of the continued growth of DR solution across ASEAN.

DataStorageAsean: How has cloud, software-defined data centre and virtualisation transformed the DR landscape?
Jan-Jaap Jager: Transformation of the disaster recovery (DR) landscape is an ongoing process and there are enormous opportunities for companies moving to the cloud.
Tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, and wildfires have potential to destroy your possessions and digital infrastructure. But if your DR strategy is cloud-enabled, you’ll be able to minimise the effect of the disaster on your business and continue operations from a different location, pretty much as soon as you can speak to your DR support hotline.
Our customers can say, “Ok, here is my house, data, and production environment. If something happens here, even if the whole city is wiped off the face of the earth, I’ll just recreate the environment from the cloud in a different location and go on with my work.”
Other advantages of the cloud DR are flexibility and cost efficiency. Unlike conventional DR methods, which are built around infrastructure duplication, cloud DR does not require any additional hardware investment, as cloud resources for virtual servers are allocated dynamically as soon as they are needed, and existing backups become accessible as data drives, all with SLA of less than 15 minutes.
 
DataStorageAsean: Are you finding customers are expecting improved RPO and RTO?
Jan-Jaap Jager: Yes. Only two years ago people were happy with a 24-hour RPO and 1-hour RTO. It’s no longer the case, because for many companies data is central for business operation.
Today, the expectations are that DR is almost instant, definitely less than 15 minutes. This means that if something happens to your server today, you need to be able to bring up an exact copy of the server in less than 15 minutes, with minimum or no data loss at all.
Imagine if you were responsible for an online shop turning half a billion dollars per year. Two hours of downtime would cost you over a hundred thousand dollars. Obviously there is a need for an instant failover and instant disaster recovery.
Small businesses need it too, because with any downtime they not only lose money but also credibility.
The challenge is to build a flexible DR solution, which would be affordable and easy to understand for any size and any type of businesses.
This is where Acronis comes in. We don’t ask you to invest into a second set of hardware. It all runs in the cloud. When your primary site goes down, a new one springs up automatically within minutes, allowing you to continue operations with minimum disruption. 

DataStorageAsean: What are the key attributes that you are seeing companies look for in a DR solution?
Jan-Jaap Jager: On one side it’s RPO and RTO indicators and on the other side it’s the flexibility, cost-effectiveness and access to support.
When your server rack burns down or you find yourself without electricity or Internet connection, you need to be able to call your service provider and say, “My system is down, help me to reboot remotely to a DR site, so that thousands of people using my platform can get back to work, while I’m dealing with the disaster.”
The number of business depending on data availability is growing exponentially every year, and there are more digital companies created every day than there are physical.
A recent analysis of the data growth rates conducted by IDC suggested that the amount of data created and copied annually would continue to double every two years, reaching 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020. The same study estimated that only 20 percent of this data is being protected, which suggests a gap between the supply and demand for adequate DR services.
Customers look for DR solutions that complement the services they already use. For example, extending existing backup procedures with Acronis DR is a logical choice for many, because it takes advantage of the system, which is already in place.

DataStorageAsean: What are the specific challenges for DR in the ASEAN region?
Jan-Jaap Jager: Disaster Recovery comes in two flavors — on-premises and in the cloud.
The former is about speed, backups and existing infrastructure. There are no specific challenges that are different to any other parts of the world.
The latter — disaster recovery in the cloud — does have some challenges in this region, primarily related to the Internet connectivity and government regulations.
Internet infrastructure, bandwidth and data privacy regulations vary from country to country. The quality of the Internet and international connectivity also vary from country to country, resulting in inconsistent connection speeds when accessing the cloud. It is very different from the European Union, which has unified boundaries and Internet rules between the member countries.
Another challenge is government regulations concerning hosting data in a different country. Some countries, like Japan, allow national companies to store backup data overseas, because of the potential seismic activity threats to local datacentres. Other countries are not as lenient. It is all about risk allocation and differentiation between different types of data, which is another challenge in itself.
DataStorageAsean: What is unique about your DR offering?
Jan-Jaap Jager: Speed, flexibility and cost-efficiency. Acronis DR is one of the fastest in the market. Earlier this year Gartner positioned Acronis in the "Challengers" quadrant in the “Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service” worldwide report. Acronis is challenging the mainstream market players by revealing that infrastructure duplication is not necessary for a successful DR strategy.
Acronis tells its customers to focus on performing backups following the 3-2-1 rule — making three copies of every piece of important data, storing it in two different formats and keeping one copy in the cloud for disaster recovery.
In the event of a disaster, within minutes the system builds a replica of the customer’s infrastructure in the cloud. Because the customer already pays for cloud storage, the only extra cost is to cover the system resources dynamically allocated to the newly created virtual servers.
Since the configuration of each server is predefined, the system boots up very quickly. It’s like turning on your PC — it only takes about a minute. And once it’s up, the data is already there, because existing backups are mounted automatically into original file location and can be accessed immediately.
Acronis offers a unique functionality to test DR without bringing down the main site. Fifteen years in the making, Acronis software gives customers peace of mind and reassurance that their data will always be secure and always available.
 

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