Qwest Communications today announced a new cloud-based application recovery solution aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses. Qwest’s Real-Time Application Recovery aims to provide business continuity at a much lower price than conventional backup solutions.
Qwest has partnered with Geminaire — the disaster recovery vendor — to supply this service, which will be hosted within a Qwest CyberCenter. The solution will protect email and databases and allow access to content in the event of a server or network disruption.
Currently DR in the cloud is mainly limited to either cloud storage (for example a business may chose to replicate data from their own data center onto cloud storage) or mail archiving (Google, for example, offers archiving and retention for email). The cloud is a natural place for DR to occur for a number of reasons:
- The inherent flexibility of the cloud means that fundamental load spikes that business continuity services create can easily, and economically, be met.
- Part of this benefit is seen from the ability to scale by use in the cloud: As disaster recovery is only needed in the event of a disaster, low level preparedness is a natural fit for the cloud.
- A disaster recovery process that relies on one particular geographical location (an on-premise data center for example) is a risk in the event of a disaster. Having data in the cloud allows for geographical dispersion.
The Qwest offering comes as a DR package including failover, remote operations and real time testing. The key here, however, is a comparison between organizations making their own DR preparations in the cloud via standard storage and a fully packaged offering like this from Qwest. Because disaster recovery is very much an insurance policy, it’s important that it isn’t high cost. The very value that Qwest is offering — feature completeness — could well create a pricing barrier to adoption. At $550 per month on a 3-year contract, users could buy a significant amount of storage on Amazon S3, a bunch of email-archiving licenses, and still have change left over . Time will tell whether businesses consider there to be sufficient value offered by a package deal like Qwest’s. If the relative lack of SMB-focused DR offerings is anything to go buy, this is a very price conscious market.
Whether it’s via an all-in-one provider or from a home-baked storage service, cloud disaster recovery is an important service, having data and applications standing ready to switch on in the event of a disaster is important for business continuity, by providing a fully managed service to allow SMBs to access cloud DR, Qwest is trying to bring this service to a new class of customer.
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Ben Kepes is an independent consultant and contributing writer for GigaOM. Please see his disclosure statement in his bio.