Can you use a Backup-as-a-Service solution as a Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service solution? After all, your online backups are (or should be) neatly stored in the cloud, and you can include not only data files, but also configuration information and even applications.

With all this available in different versions, is disaster recovery then a simple matter of picking and restoring the version you want? While BaaS can be a valuable addition or replacement to current on premises backup strategies, it turns out that disaster recovery online needs more than just backup online.

There are two big reasons why BaaS alone does not equal DRaaS. First, online backup data is stored with an emphasis on economy of space, organising, compressing, and transforming the data in consequence. This does not prevent the data from being restored, but all the steps taken to achieve the final form of storage must be undone in turn before the data becomes available again.

In disaster recovery, the priority is on speed. The data is therefore stored closer to its original form, sacrificing some space saving perhaps to make the data more rapidly available.

Second, disaster recovery typically requires that systems be restored in a precise order. In anything but the simplest of situations, applications will depend on databases being available, messaging systems will need mailbox configurations to be in place before sending and receiving new messages, and so on.

Complex system interactions must be reproduced, with programs and services linking correctly to others. Backups alone, even if they include configurations and code, lack the sequencing necessary to reconstruct a complete, working IT environment.

Finally, BaaS and DRaaS are two different services offering advantages that may overlap, but that are not the same. Use one or the other, or both, according to your backup and disaster recovery strategies, but avoid the temptation of thinking that they are interchangeable.