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Last week we reported on the big changes with Microsoft's Windows Azure service. Now announcements are flying from vendors capitalizing on the news with their own new product offerings. Security software provider Symantec just revealed it is extending its disaster recovery software to run on Microsoft’s newly upgraded cloud platform.

Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

Today Symantec and Microsoft announced a new disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) offering for Windows Azure. The new service expands Symantec’s existing Microsoft-based business continuity platform. It also allows organizations to recover applications and data in the event of a system failure. The new Symantec and Microsoft solution offers real-time replication of application data. What's impressive is that it coordinates the recovery process to ensure information and applications are restored in the right order. 

Like other service based solutions, DRaaS allows customers to adopt a sophisticated technical solution without the complexity of managing it. However, as with most technical solutions, organizations should not assume they can just purchase software and solve their disaster recover problems. Disaster recovery still requires organizations to develop an inventory of critical systems and data, notification processes and a strategy for testing.

The Next Step 

Symantec isn’t the first company to offer disaster recovery as a service. In fact, just two months ago, Windstream Communications announced a new hosted disaster recovery offering. The trend will likely continue to grow as organizations virtualize more of their infrastructure.

DRaaS has a number of benefits. Cloud-based disaster recovery solutions can have a much lower startup cost than traditional solutions, and the pay-as-you-go pricing model allows organizations to add and pay for resources as needed. In addition, managed solutions can make it easier for companies to keep disaster recovery environments in synch with dynamic production environments -- substantially reducing the impact of a failure.

Business continuity has become more important than ever.  The pace of business makes every outage even more expensive than in the past. This has prompted many to reassess their attitudes toward DRaaS, and they are discovering it is a viable alternative to traditional approaches.

Only a few years ago, smaller businesses might not have had the budget or technical resources to implement a holistic disaster recovery solution. These days, service-based options are making disaster recovery a realistic possibility for businesses of all types and sizes.