Companies looking to back up their Web sites in anticipation of a disaster - natural or otherwise - have new options from managed hosting provider Loudcloud Inc.
Loudcloud recently rolled out expanded disaster-recovery services, which include a three-tiered package that relies on the hosting provider's modular Ops-ware automation technology and lets customers pick and choose the level of backup they need. "There is no question at this point and time that there is a raised awareness of disaster recovery," says Carrie Lewis, an analyst with The Yankee Group Inc.
But she says disaster recovery must go beyond simply saving data; it also must protect business processes.
"It's one thing to make sure your data is secure and that it's not going to be lost," she says. "But then how much time will it take to get things up and running again. Do you want a separate site running - a mirrored site - so there is no interruption in service, and how often do you want backups done?"
Those are the types of questions Loudcloud is letting its customers answer for themselves by offering Disaster Recovery Complete, Disaster Recovery Select and Disaster Recovery Distributed. Disaster Recovery Complete provides customers with a standby site that is monitored and synchronized with the production site, essentially a mirror image of the main staging and production environment, so that when disaster strikes, a companies' online businesses will be uninterrupted, Loud-cloud executives say.
Disaster Recovery Select is for customers who don't need 100 percent of their Web sites up and running quickly, but would rather pick and choose critical applications that would be necessary. This site is also fully maintained and synchronized with the main site.
Disaster Recovery Distributed is an "entry level" option for customers who can have their site hosted into two geographically distinct data centers. When a catastrophe happens at one site, Loudcloud switches the environment in the other data center into full production.
The disaster-recovery services are priced as a percentage of a customer's existing site fees, which can range from tens of thousands of dollars per month to millions of dollars per month, Loudcloud executives say. Disaster Recovery Complete is priced at 70 percent to 80 percent of total site fees; Disaster Recovery Select costs 25 percent to 40 percent of total site fees, depending on hardware used and applications monitored; and Disaster Recovery Distributed ranges from 10 percent to 30 percent of total site fees.