With its new cloud storage offering, Google intends to compete in the cloud-based recovery and data archival markets. IT leaders should consider Nearline if they want lower-cost DRaaS without compromising quality of service.
On 11 March 2015, Google publicly announced Google Cloud Storage (GCS) Nearline, a new, relatively low-cost storage service with low storage access time. One of the service’s key target markets is enterprise disaster recovery, via a solution offered with disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) provider Geminare.
Nearline is a durable, low-cost and secure storage service aimed at data archiving, online backup and IT disaster recovery (DR) markets. It is designed for enterprises with large amounts of data that they need to store but don’t need to access on a regular basis. Faster than traditional offline storage, but cheaper than comparable offerings, Nearline is Google’s attempt to steal service provider business from rivals such as Amazon and Microsoft.
More important, however, this is Google’s first foray into the cloud-based DR market. The combination of Nearline and Google’s existing Compute Engine service provides the technical foundation for DR over infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The collaboration with Geminare will integrate the latter’s DRaaS solution with Google Cloud Platform to give service providers a new solution option to offer to customers. The main difference between DRaaS and recovery over IaaS is the level of provider-managed virtual machine (VM) replication, activation and testing that is supported inside a public cloud.
Geminare is a prominent industry provider of DRaaS management platform software. Its customers include NTT Communications, Cosentry, HP, Columbus Networks, Dimension Data, Iron Mountain and Hosting. Its DRaaS Cloud Management Platform will be the enabler for both cloud-based recovery and data archival. A separate partnership with Symantec will support Nearline-based data backup via an extension to an existing partner product (NetBackup). Google also plans to increase the number of partners that integrate their disaster recovery products with Nearline. To that end, it has established a partnership with CloudEndure, a New York-based cloud migration software vendor.
Despite its rapid growth, one major disadvantage of DRaaS relative to IaaS-based alternatives is its higher service pricing. To some extent, Nearline's very low price per storage gigabyte per month offers providers a lower cost alternative to building their own infrastructure. However, even though low monthly storage pricing is intriguing, we believe that by itself it won't attract provider customers. Software that integrates Nearline access with proven DRaaS delivery management is what makes the Google proposition more compelling. As a result, Gartner believes that Google will aggressively pitch the Nearline-Geminare combination to industry providers that need lower-cost DRaaS without compromising the quality-of-service experience. In the longer term, Google will encourage these provider customers to use its other services, such as App Engine, to improve and tighten applications and operations integration between the premises and the Google cloud.
IT leaders tasked with implementing a recovery strategy:
Conduct due diligence on the cloud recovery providers that already use or plan to use
Nearline and Geminare’s DRaaS Cloud Management Platform.
Benchmark the recurring monthly VM and storage pricing of GCS/Geminare providers against DRaaS providers that use Amazon Web Services.
Assess DRaaS providers on the basis of other criteria such as recovery service levels, portal quality, data privacy management and support for hybrid configurations.