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If you're already prepared to embrace the cloud as part of your DR strategy, you might consider going a step further and implementing DaaS. You can use it for DR and replace your on-premises VDI implementation, or sidestep the challenges of standing up VDI in the first place.
Desktop as a service (DaaS) eliminates many of the implementation and maintenance costs associated with an in-house disaster recovery (DR) plan, and it addresses one of the primary concerns of implementing a simple cloud backup strategy: If disaster strikes and wipes out your on-premises infrastructure and clients, you have no place to restore the images to.
DaaS for DR
DaaS lets users keep working from wherever they are on whatever devices they're using. As long as workers can connect to their desktops when they need them and their network connections remain reliable, they should notice little difference between VMs residing on an in-house server and those hosted in the cloud. Behind the scenes, however, most DaaS providers do everything they can to ensure that services are available at all times, which practically does the DR for you.
Credible DaaS providers build resiliency into all levels of the infrastructure to ensure availability regardless of tornadoes or system meltdowns. Most vendors have implemented multiple data centers that are geographically distributed, with built-in redundancy at all levels and on all systems, as well as ongoing backup and replication services across the data centers.
But implementing DaaS for DR presents the same challenges as doing DaaS to host desktops. You must still make back-end services available for the desktops, integrate authentication, replicate data and ensure you're working with a reliable provider. If you plan to go through all that trouble anyway and you trust your DaaS provider enough to let it act as a failover system, then you should seriously consider hosting desktops in the cloud.
That's not to say DaaS is without its challenges. As with any cloud service, security and reliability remain top concerns, and subscriptions fees can quickly mount. If you're considering DaaS, be sure to do a cost analysis and vet the providers carefully, particularly where disaster recovery is concerned.
DR, DaaS or DRaaS?
As DaaS has become more popular, vendors have added disaster recover as a service (DRaaS), a replication and failover utility for physical and virtual desktops where a third party handles your DR environment.
DaaS providers can take advantage of their existing infrastructures to deliver DRaaS, and it adds another service to their portfolios. For example, VMware added a new product, Horizon Air Desktop DR, to its Horizon Air Desktops offering (formerly Horizon DaaS).
Using DRaaS from your DaaS provider is a reasonable approach to DR for many organizations. You can continue to use your current systems, but have a failover backup in place should disaster strike. If you use a mixed approach to virtualization -- that is, some desktops hosted in the cloud, some on-premises and some traditional PCs -- you can use DRaaS to back up the data from all those sources.
Using the cloud for VDI DR
Guide to VDI DR
What to do when disaster strikes virtual desktops
How virtual desktops improve DR