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Qwest Jumps on the Real-Time Cloud Recovery Bandwagon

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Qwest Communications (s q) 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:

  1. The inherent flexibility of the cloud means that fundamental load spikes that business continuity services create can easily, and economically, be met.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 (s amzn), 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.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): How to Thrive as a Hardware Vendor in a Cloud-Centric World

Ben Kepes is an independent consultant and contributing writer for GigaOM. Please see his disclosure statement in his bio.