Top DRaaS Solutions for Managed Service Providers: A Comprehensive Comparison for 2023
Managed service providers (MSPs) are in a prime spot to benefit from the spike in hybrid and remote work environments due to the increased reliance on cloud services. Organizations also are leaning more heavily on their service providers to manage information and data security systems. Consequently, these businesses seek a trustworthy, experienced partner who can deliver comprehensive, dependable services and cybersecurity guidance.
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Central to keeping businesses moving is disaster recovery (DR). Minimizing data loss and business disruption from catastrophic incidents such as natural disasters, human error, and cyberattacks is a business requirement in today’s cybersecurity landscape. MSPs offering modern, user-friendly, and proven disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions gain a valuable advantage in the market versus those with legacy backup-only strategies.
Managed Service DRaaS Benefits
Best-in-class managed service DRaaS solutions go beyond maintaining backups in a single deployment infrastructure. Today’s businesses require much more than outdated backup as a service (BaaS) to proactively prepare for successful recovery. Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategies have replaced BaaS to include backup integrity automation, self-healing recovery innovation, and regular DR testing and planning for post-incident recovery with minimum impact on the business.
MSPs offering these disaster recovery features using the as-a-service model for small to medium size businesses (SMBs) provide a much-needed solution to help grow your bottom line. Because SMBs often lack the internal expertise necessary to manage disaster recovery effectively, MSPs are poised as cost-effective, reliable, and savvy partners for data security. Learn how to choose the best BCDR solution for your MSP using the BCDR Buyer’s Guide – complete with a downloadable, done-for-you BCDR checklist to help you assess your current solution.
Choosing the Best Disaster Recovery Solution
MSPs looking to add DRaaS to their services have a range of options. Key players include Axcient, Microsoft, Carbonite, IBM, Zerto, and Acronis. Choosing which is best requires assessing various factors, including features, scalability, security, reliability, and cost.
MSPs needing DRaaS will want to understand the critical differences to make an informed decision based on their unique requirements.
Criteria for Comparing DRaaS Solutions
Performance and Reliability
Disasters can strike anytime, so disaster recovery must be available quickly. Disaster recovery solutions must be easy-to-access with clear visibility into issues and 24/7/365 support to minimize downtime and quickly return to normal operations. Therefore, their performance and reliability are critical to assessing recovery as a service. Your service level agreement with clients defines minimum recovery expectations based on what your solution is capable of.
Recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) gauge a solution’s ability to restore client data. The RPO is the maximum length of time in the past from which an element of the business can revert without intolerable impact on operations. Calculating RPO requires assessing how much data loss can be tolerated during a disaster. RTO is the longest time an element of the business can be unavailable before its loss becomes intolerable. Based on what your solution is capable of and your client’s requirements, RPO and RTO can be competitive differentiators in the channel.
Scalability and Flexibility
Most SMBs have a goal for growth, which is why so many are migrating to cloud-based solutions. Their IT infrastructure, including BCDR, must have the capacity to expand and meet changing business needs. The best disaster recovery solutions must evolve with the critical workloads they protect – not just for your clients but also for your own MSP.
Unlike one-trick-pony solutions that can only be deployed in the cloud or with hardware, all-in-one disaster recovery accommodates multiple deployment options, plus BYOD (Bring Your Own Cloud) and BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud) policies. Not only do flexibility and scalability allow MSPs to offer custom infrastructure based on client desires, but it substantially reduces monthly management costs while accelerating reliable recovery. MSPs should focus on delivering value to clients, not having to juggle multiple solutions, each with its specific requirements and procedures.
Cost-effectiveness and Pricing
Cost is always a factor impacting client adoption of disaster recovery. Managed service DRaaS costs break down into a series of payments over the solution’s lifecycle for the initial investment, ongoing maintenance, and recurring subscription fees.
Typically, there are two elements to consider when pricing your DR solution. First is the cost to you as the MSP and how that will be passed onto clients. Second is the overall cost of the DRaaS and how competitive that number is with alternative solutions. Clients will undoubtedly perform price checks when vetting disaster recovery as a service, so you want to balance critical capabilities and cost to come out ahead of the competition.
Ease of Use and Management
Your DRaaS solution’s user interface is a major factor for backup management efficiency, rapid recovery, and cost-effectiveness. Technicians need easy access to backups with high visibility into issues using automated monitoring, alerting, and escalation rules. Equally as important is their ability to resolve those issues with minimal effort. When technicians are given comprehensive BCDR solutions, they can master one maintenance and disaster recovery process rather than learning multiple systems that can cause confusion.
Similarly, for administrative tasks outside of DR, like onboarding, training, billing, and support, a DRaaS solution should also be user-friendly. Jumping through multiple hoops to pay your bill, talk to your vendor, or onboard a new team member costs your MSP unnecessarily. However, choosing a single pane of glass for DRaaS can contribute to thousands of dollars in savings each month.
Security and Compliance
A critical factor for MSPs who service clients in regulated industries is the security and compliance of the DRaaS solution. Appropriate security controls include automatic anti-ransomware and data deletion technology, pooled storage for years-long retention, data encryption, access controls, and data center certifications.
Assess the security features and the availability of independent certification and accreditation evidence while vetting BCDR vendors. Your solution should help you help clients meet industry regulations and standards like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and GDPR by being SOC2 certified. If a solution cannot provide the protections you need to support compliance for clients, it’s jeopardizing your relationships with clients and your ability to recover.
Support and Vendor Reputation
You’re only as good as the third-party vendors you work with, so you want a DRaaS solution provider with 24/7/365 support and an impeccable reputation for uninterrupted business continuity. DRaaS that fails to deliver during a disaster or creates a customer perception of unreliability or undue complexity will impact your client’s perception of your MSP.
Assess the quality of the DRaaS providers’ customer support based on response times, support channels, and the availability of dedicated account managers. Using customer reviews, testimonials, and industry awards and recognitions, gauge a solution’s potential reputational impact on your MSP. Typically, a vendor that only works with MSPs will provide a higher degree of support for MSPs versus vendors servicing various businesses.
Top DRaaS Solutions for MSPs: A Detailed Comparison
Axcient is a private company based in Denver, Colorado, founded in 2006. It provides a range of as-a-service solutions for MSPs under its x360 brand, which have widescale adoption across over 3,000 MSPs worldwide. One of the key benefits of Axcient’s solution is its proprietary Chain-Free backup technology and 100% commitment to MSPs in the channel.
Axcient x360Recover provides business continuity and disaster recovery using DRaaS developed for MSPs and their SMB clients. MSPs can utilize x360Recover across market verticals and segments, including highly regulated sectors. Its primary customer markets are IT service providers in North America and the Asia/Pacific regions.
Axcient’s BCDR solution covers most business use cases with just one solution and vendor for traditional applianced-based and modern cloud-based backups – including endpoint backup, hardware-free BDR, full-service BDR, and public or private cloud backup. Both deployment options ensure business continuity with a 15-minute RPO and less than 1-hour RTO.
Axcient’s proprietary Chain-Free backup technology is a differentiator in the market, along with built-in data loss prevention via AirGap, automatic backup integrity checks using AutoVerify, and near-instant virtualization with Virtual Office.
Axcient x360Recover offers simple, straightforward pricing for flat fee pooled data storage and secure long-term retention. MSPs can trial the solution for free through the Axcient website.
Check out the Gartner Peer Insights website for Axcient x360Recover Reviews, Ratings & Features, where 95% of respondents awarded this solution four stars or higher.
Microsoft Azure Site Recovery
Microsoft is a public multinational technology corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, founded in 1975. Famous for being an operating system and business application provider, Microsoft also provides a range of as-a-service solutions under its Azure brand for clients of its cloud services. One of the key benefits of the Azure Site Recovery solution is its integration with other Azure services for data protection.
Microsoft Azure Site Recovery is a DRaaS developed from the Microsoft site backup service for customers of Azure services. It offers this as a general backup tool for Azure customers across market verticals and regions.
Microsoft Azure Site Recovery operates from local to Azure or Azure to Azure and covers most typical backup and recovery use cases. The solution provisions compute infrastructure able to manage traffic volume in the event of an environment or region-level failover with region failover to a secondary region, as necessary. In addition, the solution protects against outages caused by faulty hardware or network interruption to avoid potential data loss.
Azure Site Recovery supports businesses that require an RPO of 15 minutes and an RTO of between 4 and 10 hours.
Microsoft Azure Site Recovery uses a fixed cost-per-instance pricing model with no setup fees. In addition, the DRaaS pricing includes the first month free for solution evaluation.
Check out the Gartner Peer Insights website for Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Reviews, Ratings & Features, where 94% of respondents awarded this solution four stars or higher.
Carbonite is a subsidiary of a public corporation headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and founded in 2006. OpenText, a public enterprise software developer headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, acquired it in 2009. One of the key benefits of the Carbonite Recover solution is its simplicity.
Carbonite Recover is their DRaaS developed as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for end clients. They offer it as a general entry-level backup tool for individuals and small to midsize businesses to protect individual devices rather than business systems.
Carbonite Recover delivers its service using an agent deployed to the systems under protection which transfers information continuously to the Carbonite cloud as a general backup service for data protection. The solution then allows users to access the secondary data copy as a recovery service following any outage of the primary systems.
Carbonite Recover uses a low-cost subscription pricing model with no setup fees. The cost varies by the number of servers but with a maximum limit of 25 endpoints.
Check out the Gartner Peer Insights website for OpenText Carbonite Recover Reviews, Ratings & Features, where 92% of respondents awarded this solution four stars or higher.
IBM is one of the oldest technology companies still in existence. A public multinational corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, IBM was founded in 1911. While most famous for manufacturing mainframe computers, IBM also provides cloud services as part of its enterprise solutions. One of the key benefits of IBM’s DRaaS solution is that its part of a portfolio of business continuity and cyber resilience services for enterprises.
IBM developed its DRaaS for managing IBM equipment, including complex mainframe-based infrastructure. In addition, it leverages IBM’s worldwide reach and global network of cloud-based services.
IBM DRaaS is a fully managed service that provides end-to-end integrated recovery services for private, hybrid, and public cloud environments. It offers both traditional disaster recovery and work area recovery.
The IBM DRaaS is deployable across existing technologies to deliver automated backup with non-intrusive testing and validation. The service replicates critical applications, infrastructure, data, and systems to one of the IBM Resiliency Data Centers, with hundreds available worldwide.
IBM DRaaS claims to support an RPO of several seconds and an RTO of a few minutes with the continuous backup process and failover technology.
IBM DRaaS is a high-cost, high-value service for enterprise clients with complex infrastructure.
Check out the Gartner Peer Insights website for IBM Disaster Recovery as a Service Reviews, Ratings & Features, where 87% of respondents awarded this solution four stars or higher.
Zerto Virtual Replication
Zerto is a subsidiary of a public corporation headquartered in Spring, Texas, founded in 2009. Hewlett Packard Enterprise acquired it in 2021. One of the key benefits of the Zerto solution is its simple-to-use hypervisor-based replication software that orchestrates and automates the recovery process.
Zerto Virtual Replication is their DRaaS for virtualized and cloud infrastructures aimed at informed users, specifically larger businesses, with an in-house team available to manage the recovery as a service. The service is ideal for managing virtual servers, virtual machines, and VMware site recovery.
Zerto Virtual Replication moves data replication up the server stack into the hypervisor from the storage layer for continuous backup to cloud storage to provide a failover service. It also supports a Kubernetes-based solution for integration into the application development lifecycle providing data protection as a code service.
Zerto Virtual Replication is a high-cost solution with flexible pricing plans to fit the custom requirements of larger organizations.
Check out the Gartner Peer Insights website for Evolve IP DRaaS ZT (Zerto) – Standard Reviews, Ratings & Features, where all respondents in a limited sample size awarded this solution four stars or higher.
Acronis AnyData Engine
Acronis International GmbH is a private software technology company headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, founded in 2003. Its DRaaS has evolved from its backup and disaster recovery software based on disk imaging technology. One of the key benefits of the Acronis AnyData Engine solution is its history of developing innovative solutions to meet changing business challenges.
Acronis AnyData Engine is a DRaaS developed from Acronis device backup software applications. It offers global clients a general backup tool in 26 languages across over 150 countries.
Using a proprietary Unified Backup Format, the Acronis AnyData Engine backup uses images to generate recovery data for any physical servers or virtual machines. This approach offers clients the option of in-cloud or on-premises storage of backups.
A centralized server management panel allows users to monitor and evaluate backups and initiate granular-level recovery operations to improve process efficiency and minimize RTO.
Acronis AnyData Engine is available on a flexible pricing model based on the number of devices and cloud storage requirements as a set of tiered alternatives that support service scaling as necessary. A low-cost option is available for single small systems, rising to relatively high costs for larger systems.
Check out the Gartner Peer Insights website for Acronis Disaster Recovery Service Reviews, Ratings & Features, where 91% of respondents awarded this solution four stars or higher.
Tips for MSP Owners to Choose the Right DRaaS Solution
Understand DRaaS Needs and Requirements
Marketing DRaaS as part of an integrated managed service requires MSPs to identify and comprehend each client’s requirements. Industry sectors influence needs, while geographic and compliance standards govern regulated businesses.
For example, business processes determine critical factors like RTO and RPO, while regulatory and legislative requirements dictate data retention requirements.
Assess Available Resources and Budget
Your MSP’s available resources, including infrastructure and existing technical experience, determine the feasibility of implementing and managing a particular DRaaS. Lower-skilled techs can manage some solutions due to automation and innovation, while others require a high level of expertise, making hiring challenging and expensive.
MSPs with fewer technical resources for DRaaS management rely more on their solution provider’s support. The quality of this third-party support may affect client perceptions of your MSP – be it positive or negative – so make sure you have the support you need to deliver for clients.
The budget for disaster recovery services influences decision-making when selecting a DRaaS solution. MSPs with SMB clients in non-regulated industries might offer less expensive DRaaS, while those with highly regulated clients may require more protection and thus come with a higher price tag. Ensure your prices are attractive to prospects, give clients value through data security features, and enable your MSP to grow and reach profitability goals.
Evaluate the Support and Reputation of the DRaaS Provider
MSPs providing DRaaS as part of their BCDR services must be aware that the quality and timeliness of the support they receive will directly impact their ability to support clients. If you’re waiting for help from your vendor, your client is waiting for your help. Therefore, a high level of product support intelligence and responsiveness are critical for ensuring DRaaS implementation success and client satisfaction.
MSPs need to assess the quality of support and the overall reputation of DRaaS providers as part of their selection process. In addition, customer reviews, testimonials, and industry award details allow MSPs to gauge provider reliability and expertise.
Perform Trials and Tests to Ensure Solution Effectiveness
Assessing the performance and effectiveness of DRaaS is challenging. Conducting trials and tests using real-world scenarios in a representative environment offers the most effective method of independently evaluating DRaaS solution effectiveness. However, not all solutions can oversee virtual machines, virtual servers, or VMware site recovery when needed.
DRaaS performing incorrectly during a disaster recovery event will compromise the affected client, potentially resulting in business loss. Such a situation can cause consequential reputational harm to any MSP providing ineffective disaster recovery solutions.
Running simulations and testing your disaster recovery plan will allow confirmation that a solution can meet the client’s anticipated needs and requirements. Even better, some disaster recovery solutions allow DR testing so MSPs can prove their value and effectiveness to clients before an incident.
With the rising adoption of cloud services, increasing IT infrastructure complexity, and more demanding customer requirements, MSPs have both opportunities and burdens. Security threats continue to grow in the form of sophisticated and frequent cyberattacks while remote endpoints multiply outside the safety of business firewalls. According to this Forbes article, the modern challenges of MSPs will always include data security.
MSPs can maintain competitiveness by offering clients reliable and secure services. DR is a critical element in business security for preventing data loss when disaster strikes. Offering DRaaS as an integrated part of a managed service can be a key market differentiator. Check here to learn more about selling BCDR to clients by showing your MSP’s value.
Choosing the right DRaaS for clients can be challenging, with factors like performance, scalability, cost-effectiveness, ease of use, security, and provider reputation all guiding selection. And having a robust, comprehensive, all-in-one BCDR solution is necessary to secure clients with data availability, DRaaS, and business continuity. Utilize the tips outlined here to vet our list of DRaaS solutions to find the best one for you and your clients.