Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is a blossoming area of DR and cloud computing. But because it's in its early days, many customers may not know exactly what to look for when shopping around.

Gartner's DR expert John Morency has a variety of tips for customers looking for the right questions to ask their provider. Here are some:

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What to look for from your provider

-Provider's standing in the market, its portfolio of services and financial stability.

-Service-Level Agreement: Is it customized or generic?

-Size of installed base.

-Number of recoveries performed.

-Number of years in business, ownership, number of offices (domestic and international), names of the five largest clients, the length of relationship with each and contact information to serve as a reference.

-Organizational charts of key personnel assigned to your account and contact information.

-Experience with customers if similar size or industry as yourself.

Things to look for in a Service Level Agreement (SLA)

-Performance of virtual machines that are run in the cloud to ensure they match organization's needs.

-Geographic location of provider's support centers to ensure they can meet international service delivery requests.

-Disaster declaration procedure and incident management triage process.

-Targeted amount of time it should take to recover by industry:

" 0-2 hours: Communications, airline, financial services

" 2-8 hours: Defense, insurance, biotech, healthcare, manufacturing, utilities

" 8-24 hours: Consumer goods, retail distribution, government, non-airline transportation

" 24 hours+: Construction, distribution, food/beverage, publishing

What to look for from your provider's data center

-SSAE (Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements) 16, SOC (Service Organization Control) 1, 2 and 3 formal certifications. Or, SAS (Statements on Auditing Standards) 70 Type II certification. SSAE supersedes SAS 70 certification.

-Data center meets requirements of the Uptime Institute's Tier 4 recommendations.

-99.995% uptime guarantee.

-Number of customers per virtual machines.

-Continuously manned site.

-User testing allowed.


-Detailed review of pricing structure.

-DRaaS pricing per tier.

-Maintenance fees.

-Additional necessary equipment fees.

-Support fees.

-Cost-per-day of consulting, training services, including travel costs.

-Necessary software and license fees.

-Any other fees or charges customers pay.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at [email protected] and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.