It's time to move from a disk-to-tape to a disk-to-cloud backup strategy
By J.Peter Bruzzese
The 3-2-1 rule is simple and easy to remember for your backup strategy: You want three copies of your data, in two different formats, with one of those copies offsite. Having three copies ensures redundancy (because they should be in different locations and formats). Using different formats goes back to the tape/disk/optical mindset of the past.
Many organizations have moved away from tape as primary backup to hard disk, using tape as a secondary. But cloud backups are becoming the new normal for the 3-2-1 rule where you back up first to disk and then to the cloud.
The idea of backing up with a cloud storage repository as one of those three copies is beneficial in theory, providing an offsite copy of your data should you need it. And all without tapes or drives sent to an offsite facility. Instead, the backup goes right over your Internet connection to a cloud vendor’s storage.
But the reality is not always so rosy. The cost for putting your backups into a hosted cloud repository could be prohibitive. You may be dealing with limited bandwidth, and even if you can increase it o cover your storage volume, doing so comes at more cost.
If you host your Infrastructure in the cloud, don’t think you’re backed up. You’re not. So you really need to ensure you have redundancy of your data, no matter where it resides.
There are a ton of cloud backup options out there, some of which offer simple cloud storage that you can just dump raw data into, and some provide the kind of backup and recovery capabilities familiar in the data center. Don’t make the mistake of thinking all cloud backup offerings are the same. You have to do your due diligence and find a solution that works for you.
You may in fact be looking for two different solutions: one to handle the backup and the other to hold the backup. For example, you may want to use Microsoft Azure for your storage provider with a front-end tool like Veeam Cloud Connect to manage the backup of VMs.
Veeam Cloud Connect offers an SSL backup (deduplicated and compressed) to a partner service provider (Azure, for example) and optionally includes WAN acceleration to help offset the bandwidth issue. It also offers “forever incremental backups” (deltas) that allow for less data to travel to the cloud. You can also do traditional grandfather-father-son (GFS) backup. End-to-end encryption of the data ensures security in transit and in storage.
Commvault’s Unified Cloud Data Protection offering is similar.
Then there’s Nasuni, whose hybrid cloud storage offering combines local storage controllers and cloud storage..
No matter what provider’s approach you favor, it’s important to have a clear understanding of pricing (including storage costs and fees for storing and retrieving your data), the features offered, and overall data life cycle management (if you choose to index the data for easy retrieval).
With that information in place, backing up up to the cloud as part of your 3-2-1 strategy is as easy as 1-2-3.