Back-up for the ‘always on’ business

Charles Clarke, Veeam APAC technical director discusses the benefits of back up solutions for the cloud.

The adoption of technologies including cloud, virtualisation, mobility and the Internet of Things is having a significant impact on the way businesses operate.

Our increasing reliance on technology, which has enabled 24/7 access to emails, servers, brands and services, has created a world that never sleeps.

Yet having an ‘always on’ business, with more data being processed than ever, means a heightened risk of IT outages and data loss.

However, these risks can largely be mitigated with the right data management strategy and business continuity plan in place. This is where the cloud comes in.

Cloud as a business continuity strategy solution

The cloud provides a logical step in an organisations’ business continuity plan. We encourage customers with on-premise data to adopt the 3-2-1 rule for data protection: have three copies of your data (one in production), on two different media, one of which should be offsite.

The cloud provides that offsite location with some added benefits. First, the economy of scale that cloud providers can offer means storage for cloud backup archives can be cheaper than maintaining storage in your own data centre.

Secondly, cloud providers can offer geo-redundancy, providing additional fault tolerance in the event of a disaster that impacts the cloud provider themselves.

Third is capacity: the elasticity of storage in the cloud offers the illusion of infinity coupled with a predictable billing model. Many organisations are adopting a hybrid approach and implementing multi-tiered data protection.

Local copies of backups can be maintained onsite to facilitate rapid recoveries from ‘everyday disasters’ like deleted files and corrupted virtual machines.

Offsite backup archives can be streamed to a cloud provider. This offers recovery protection in the event of a major disaster as well as an archive for older backups.

The service levels for recovery might be slower but recoveries from older data are much more rare once a backup gets beyond around 30 days.

Cloud considerations

The best backup solutions for the cloud should work reliably without massive administrative overhead or constant baby-sitting. Most importantly, recovery should just work when organisations need to dig themselves out of a jam.

The cloud should be low mainainance. It should be predictable, provide easy management and a billing model that is easy to understand and budget for. But there are other aspects to contemplate.

The geo-redundancy can be a downside where data privacy and sovereignty are a concern. Speedy access to the cloud requires good internet connectivity, which comes at a cost here. The key consideration should be around recovery.

The time to recover workloads either in-cloud or download from the cloud mean that cloud can, in most cases, be thought of as an archiving solution for backup rather than as a primary backup target.

A happy marriage

Cloud data protection offers some great opportunities. Cloud providers can extend their offerings to include data protection for both hosted and non-hosted workloads.

They have the option to burst from their own cloud, to become commodity cloud providers offering cheaper storage at scale with geo-redundancy, providing more choices for customers.

With the right toolset, cloud providers can facilitate selfservice recoveries from the cloud, automated service level reporting and disaster recovery testing, differentiating themselves from the competition.

System integrators have an opportunity to help customers make the right choice in cloud strategy, and resellers can help customers make the right choice in appliances and toolsets built for this new paradigm.

Two things are for sure: the cloud is here to stay and everybody needs backups. The channel opportunity is to marry these together.

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