If you don’t know Jason Buffington, vice president of solutions strategy for Veeam, you really should. He’s a former analyst with ESG, where he did a ton of work around backup and disaster recovery (DR), and he’s all over LinkedIn, Twitter, the Veeam blog and other platforms giving advice to IT about how to ensure they’ve got the strongest, most cost-effective data protection their organization can afford.

He’s also a bit famous for this phrase: “Why BaaS when you can DRaas?”

It’s a good question. So let’s discuss it.

Veeam Cloud Services: BaaS vs DRaaS

Backup (including Backup-as-a-service/BaaS) and Disaster Recovery (including DR-as-a-service/DRaaS) are complementary aspects of complete data protection strategy that can enable business continuity; but they aren’t the same thing. Buffington explains the difference in episode 53 of his weekly Industry Insights video podcast with Dave Russell, Veeam’s VP of enterprise strategy and a former longtime Gartner analyst.

First, There’s Data Flow

Most backup technologies transform the data as part of transmitting it to a secondary repository, whether that’s tape, cloud, disk or some other media. It saves a lot of storage space and also enables backup to capture multiple versions of data at different points in time without severely taxing storage capacity, but it’s also why restore takes a while. During recovery, the software has to rehydrate the compressed and deduplicated backup file, and that requires some time.

The Speed of Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery typically replicates the data pretty much exactly as it exists in its original state, so it is readily available when needed. Naturally, this also means that more storage is required for replicas than for backup, and it also means that, typically, only the most current version of data and applications is available. Generally speaking, the more immediately usable the data is, the less optimized it will be for storage purposes. This is especially noticeable when combining with the agility of as-a-Service, on-demand infrastructure. The new cloud-hosted servers can be “ready” as quick as the data can be mounted.

Workflow orchestration / automation

The next big difference is workflow orchestration and automation. Availability is about much more than just powering up backups. Let’s say you’ve got a multi-VM application with web front ends that are connected to middleware and are serviced by a pair of database servers. Finally, it all needs to be authenticated by Active Directory. 

Keep in mind, most applications — especially the powerful mission-critical ones on which day-to-day operations rely — exist in a complex mesh of dependencies. So you can’t just restore an application alone and power it on. The other workloads on which it depends must also be up and running, which means IT needs a workflow, ideally an automated one. 

Backup usually doesn’t require this kind of orchestration, because most of the time, you’re only bringing back a few VMs, some files or something an executive may have deleted by accident — basically, relatively small, discrete restores. But if the entire data center goes up in a fire or gets hit by a massive ransomware attack, you’re going to need to restore a lot of data with a lot of dependencies, and it needs to happen fast.

Backup & DR address different recovery outcomes

BaaS and DRaaS are architected with different considerations. DRaaS is ideal for rapidly restoring large amounts of data, but not so great at restoring discrete items, particularly if you want an item from a specific time period. BaaS is storage efficient and great at recovering individual items, but not so great at rapidly restoring an entire data center. That said, both solutions are ideally framed within a single data mover and management framework. One of the great things about Veeam’s data protection solutions, however, is that both backup and replication are included in the same software. 

The Secret Sauce = Expertise

There is a third aspect beyond the technologies and processes that Buffington points out, based on his years as a BC/DR planner.  Perhaps the most notable differentiator between “real” BC/DR and “just” backup is the expertise outside of simple IT architecture. Aligning business goals and dependencies to IT systems, helping establish SLAs, configuring those orchestrated workflows, and then testing the solution against the established recovery goals, are all expertise led.  

According to Buffington and Russell, the reasons that BC/DR initiatives are so much more achievable today is because 1) DRaaS provides secondary infrastructure to those without multiple physical data centers and 2) DRaaS providers have the kinds of experts that many organizations cannot afford to have as full-time staff.  And that is where OffsiteDataSync comes in as your partner whose internal experts specialize in backup and disaster recovery managing it all for you. 

The Answer: BaaS or DRaas? 

There’s really only one choice. With Veeam, you don’t have to select one or the other. You can get the best of both worlds in a single package from a single service provider.

And OffsiteDataSync is the clear choice on that one. 

Want to learn more about what OffsiteDataSync can do for your organization with BaaS and DRaaS?