What is DRaaS? Definition, Working, and Examples

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Written By Nipun Singh

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DRaaS (Disaster recovery as a service) is a service that provides backup services to organizations to help them withstand unplanned outages.

Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), is a cloud-based service model that allows organizations to back up their IT infrastructure onto a third-party cloud environment.

This provides disaster recovery solutions for IT systems susceptible to disasters. This article will provide some key examples and explain how Disaster recovery as a service works.

What is DRaaS?

Disaster recovery as a Service (DRaaS), is a cloud-based service model that allows organizations to back up their IT infrastructure onto a third-party cloud environment.

This provides disaster recovery solutions for IT systems that are susceptible to natural disasters. DRaaS allows enterprises to regain control of the IT fabric's functionality in the event of a disaster.

As-a-service means that the cloud provider is responsible for all aspects of disaster recovery management. Companies don't have to use their resources when recovering from unpredicted events.

Cyberattacks, system failures, power cuts, and natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and wildfires are all common disasters that have negatively impacted IT companies. These events are not uncommon, but disaster recovery solutions can be critical for business continuity.

DRaaS is a way to replicate an IT ecosystem's storage, computing, and networking functions onto virtual servers hosted in a cloud or hybrid environment.

This arrangement allows companies to run their applications on third-party infrastructure instead of waiting for physical servers to be repaired after a disaster. This arrangement allows business operations to continue uninterrupted, while also allowing for faster disaster recovery times and immediate troubleshooting.

After the physical systems are recovered, data and computing processes can be migrated back into the original IT frameworks. Customers may experience a higher level of latency when accessing the cloud of a service provider rather than their local server.

However, the business costs of system failure can be more costly. Enterprises need to have a plan for disaster recovery to keep their businesses running after a disaster. Depending on the organization's needs and budget, they can either subscribe or pay per use for Disaster recovery as a service.

Types of DRaaS Models

Amazon (AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery), IBM Corporation (Microsoft Azure Site Recovery), VMWare, and Zerto dominate the global DRaaS market. Organizations typically give control of their disaster recovery plans to these top-rated DRaaS companies. Depending on the SLA, DRaaS providers use the following deployment models to provide services:

Managed DRaaS - In managed DRaaS, all responsibility for disaster recovery is transferred to the service provider. This model is ideal for companies that lack the expertise required to manage unanticipated events.

Assisted Disaster Recovery Planning: Only certain aspects of the disaster recovery plan can be handed to third-party vendors in assisted DRaaS. Rest is managed by the company or its customers.

Self-service DRaaS - Customers or organizations can plan, test, and implement disaster recovery plans by hosting backups on remote systems. This DRaaS option is the most affordable and it is best for companies that have the required expertise.

Benefits of DRaaS

DRaaS can be a benefit to any company that depends on IT-based business systems. These are the main benefits of DRaaS.

Faster recovery: DRaaS allows businesses and organizations to continue operating normally while quickly restoring the disaster-hit services and components (hours, minutes, based on SLA).

A cost-effective solution: The DRaaS solution provides businesses with an affordable way to avoid the negative effects of IT downtime.

Expert recovery: IT teams often find it difficult to test and validate different disaster recovery plans because they lack the required expertise. DRaaS places the responsibility of disaster recovery planning in the hands of qualified experts.

Resource optimization: DRaaS, a cloud-based service that allows customers to only pay what they use (pay-per-usage model). This is in contrast with traditional customer-operated disaster recovery centers that require an upfront payment.

How DRaaS Processes Work?

DRaaS allows for data protection, including complete or partial backups, recovery, and real-time replication. Typically, DRaaS services are available in both premise-to-cloud and cloud–to–cloud settings.

DRaaS cloud can be private or public and serve small, medium, and large businesses. DRaaS is essential for many industries. It can be used in the financial sector (banks, government agencies, IT telecom, media & entertainment) as well as the manufacturing and logistics sectors. Although DRaaS can be used in many different fields, the workflow is the same.

Let's now look at the phases that determine the cost and scope of the Disaster recovery as a service process.

1. Replication

This phase captures stateful snapshots of all applications that require protection at a rate that meets an organization's RPO requirements. RPO is the period during which the company can sustain data loss in a disaster. All snapshots captured are then stored in DRaaS data centers, which store them all in a first–in–first-out (FIFO). Some DRaaS providers offer automatic snapshotting as part of a zero data loss’ policy.

2. Failover

After a disaster, users' access to data and apps is moved from the on-site servers to DRaaS centers, where replicated snapshot instances are available. Failover allows applications to continue running despite the network outage until operations can be restored.

3. Failback

Failureback is the last phase of a disaster recovery program. After the disaster has been dealt with, users are redirected back to their original data centers or servers. After this phase is completed, the system will reset its three-phase process to prepare for the next disaster.

Examples of DRaaS

The need to back up public and private data is essential due to the rapid increase in data across all industry sectors. Data loss has been significantly impacted by unplanned outages within the corporate world. Companies can sometimes experience irreparable damage that leads to an eventual shutdown.

Backup services are useful in these situations as they protect companies from unplanned disasters. This fact has fueled significant growth in the DRaaS market.

ReportLinker's March 2022 report states that the global DRaaS market accounted for $5.79 billion in 2021. It is projected to rise to $26.73 billion by 2026.

There has been an increase in cyber attacks due to the digital transformations of companies. Companies are also concerned about data breaches that could compromise their sensitive information.

To deal with external threats and speed up recovery, companies rely on machine-learning-based DRaaS solutions.

These learning algorithms detect potential outages early and prevent them from affecting company operations. Unitrends, a US-based company that provides AI-based backup services to companies affected by ransomware attacks, is an example.

Here are some examples of real-world situations where DRaaS can restore data and applications

1. DDoS Attacks

Let's consider a disaster recovery example where cybercriminals launch a DDoS (Distributed-Denial-of-Service) attack on an organization. A network may be bombarded by illegitimate requests for re-occupation and could even prevent legitimate data from being accessed. It becomes difficult to connect to the network databases.

Recent examples of DDoS attacks include those that Russian hackers carried out in March 2022 against Ukrainian government websites, just before they invaded the country.

It is crucial to have a backup plan in such situations to ensure routine operations do not get interrupted. This can be done by creating virtual servers in the cloud and keeping backups of server images. Although the process is not always seamless, having backup data and images can be a great help in restoring the network.

2. Data Centers Damaged

Natural disasters like floods and earthquakes can cause permanent damage to data centers. Recent events like Hurricane Sandy and the California wildfires, as well as the Texas power grid outages, highlight the importance of having backup and recovery services.

These disasters can destroy all or part of a data center, including servers, disks, and other components. These events are becoming more common due to climate change.

Businesses can solve such problems by keeping offsite copies, maintaining remote backups, and even keeping records on cloud storage in different regions. It is also important to move data quickly to other infrastructure, as restoring data backups over the internet can take a lot of time.

It is essential to have backup copies of your data and to devise a method to quickly restore it to another framework.

3. Data Tampering

This type of disaster can lead to hackers infiltrating sensitive company data with malicious code, causing the data to become unusable. These codes can also spread malicious code throughout the network.

Preparing for this scenario is possible by backing up essential data copies that will allow you to retrieve the data necessary to maintain business continuity.

Multiple backups of data can be helpful at different times (daily/weekly/monthly). It is better to preserve older copies than to delete them. This will allow for faster recovery. You can also perform data recovery operations on only damaged parts of data if you have the information.

4. Ransomware Attacks

In addition to the examples above, many companies were recently affected by ransomware. Cover's October 2021 report found that ransomware was responsible for an average downtime of about 20 days during the fourth quarter of 2021.

Connectwise published another study in 2022 that revealed how ransomware had affected at least two of the three largest mid-sized businesses over the past year.

Colonial Pipeline Company reported a ransomware attack on May 7, 2021. The company had to close its pipeline network in response. Despite operations being restored on May 13th, 2022 due to immediate recovery plans this shows that DR planning is a must in organizations.

VMWare is one of the companies that has taken steps to implement DR plans. VMWare purchased Datrium in July 2020 to achieve its DRaaS goals.

The company's DRaaS capabilities have been expanded and the chance of disruption to its business has been reduced by this acquisition. COVID-19, which has accelerated digitization and pushed DRaaS adoption, is another example.


Modern IT requires that organizations have disaster recovery plans in place to deal with the unexpected consequences of disasters.

Cyberattacks are becoming more common with the advancement of technology and increased use of cloud computing by organizations. Companies and recovery teams can streamline their business operations by having a well-planned disaster recovery plan.

Reliable, budget-friendly, and easy-to-implement recovery strategies are key to success. These DR solutions allow companies of any size to access a variety of DRaaS services that will ensure business continuity, even during the toughest times.

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