Will Your Next Backup Be In The Clouds?

Cloud Computing is the industry’s next big thing. It’s always fun to watch as the different companies reposition themselves to support the next wave, unsure if the wave will hit or not. The good news is… at this point, the wave has already hit, but now we are looking at continued waves and a steady increase of size and quantity.

Cloud is here now. Looking at the infrastructure pieces, let’s begin with hardware. Disk that is scalable, maintaining the ability to carve virtual volumes, offerings security services, and low cost are the main criteria in vendor selection and there are a ton of vendors that meet these requirements today.

Server hardware is essentially the same for cloud and non-cloud with exception to the fact that your typical cloud server is higher end with more processing and memory on board to accommodate higher density computing. The last main component is virtualization software. VMware is currently leading the pack. But offerings from Microsoft with Hyper-V, especially with Windows 8 and Hyper-V 3.0 on the not too distant horizon, and Citrix XenServer, make this field very interesting. It only promises to heat up as cloud continues to grow.Will Your Next Backup Be In The Clouds?

Would You Prefer Cloud Backup or others backups?

The key elements for cloud are in place today. All we need is a good use case or two to really kick it into gear. Let’s take a look into one use case that seems to be really taking hold and gaining momentum: cloud for backup. Backup is one of those things we love to hate. It is absolutely essential to our survival from failure and disaster and is often one of the things that is underspent and improperly set up in a lot of places. It all boils down to this…

How important is your data? If you lose your data, will your business survive?

This can be applied to a very small business all the way on up to the largest enterprise. Data is equally important to any size company. The main difference between them is at the small scale, companies do not have the huge IT budgets that the larger companies have to survive a disaster.

This is where cloud-based backup becomes more interesting. True enterprise-class, cloud-based service offerings allow any size business take advantage of the economies of scale. That means that any size company, no matter how small and how tight the budgets are, can leverage these services.

Freedom of choice

Now comes the freedom of choice. Almost every vendor in the backup space is either offering cloud today or working towards cloud-based offerings. Some of these are private and proprietary to the vendor and others leverage existing cloud infrastructures like Amazon.

Cloud-based backup offers the ability to back up your data to an offsite location for the “Just-In-Case” moment when things go bad. There are two basic types of cloud backup. One is where you back up your data locally and then replicate it to the cloud. The other is where you back up data directly to the cloud. The first option, with local backup data, is better if you want to be able to recover large quantities of data in a hurry. If you have a system fail, the entire system image is already local and you can begin recovery immediately. This approach usually requires some form of backup system with storage and is a more costly approach, but offers better RTO (Recovery Time Objective).

The latter, where you backup directly to the cloud, splits into two types: one that backs up your critical files only and another that backs up the whole system to the cloud. If you use the “Files Only” approach and your system fails, you need to spend the time and resources to bring the system back by installing the OS and applications. If you back up the whole system, you can restore the image as a whole. The downside to either of these is you are dealing with WAN speed recovery, which for a file or several files is fine, but for whole systems or large amounts of files, can take a lot of time to complete. Weigh the differences and make a choice based on SLAs (Service Level Agreements) you have with your data consumers.

Planning is critical

In the end, a solid plan is required, no matter which direction you go. Services today are available to help you get there. Over time, these will continue to evolve and costs will continue to go down as more and more infrastructure and software vendors enter the mix. Take advantage of these services today to protect your data. Keep it fluid enough that you can migrate as less expensive offerings come about.

Will your next backup be in the clouds? I’d forecast a pretty high probability that you will back up to the cloud at some point soon.


12 responses to “Will Your Next Backup Be In The Clouds?”

  1. Rashmi Sinha Avatar
    Rashmi Sinha

    There is so much noise around Clouds that i am definitely going to back up next time there. I guess the reason that they are so famous is that they actually are a good idea !

  2. Dennis Avatar

    I think backing up data in the cloud is great. It will save a lot of trouble and expense that was involved in the traditional off-site backup. No more need for magnetic tapes and transporting them to off-site storage facilities.

  3. Niki Avatar

    I don’t know man. I backup all my data to an USB flash drive every week. So if my hard drive stops workng I can recover everything and I will not be set back more than a week. I don’t think I will ever use an online storage service for my backups. I want the backup to be close to me :). I do not like things I can’t control and also the less things I rely on the better. Also I do not actually see what will be better if I use a could instead.

    1. Strasbourg formation informatique Avatar
      Strasbourg formation informatique

      Last week i had a problem, i lose my USB flash drive and i was really sad ! I am agree with you it’s better to backup all the data to an USB flash drive every week like you and after we can recover everything!
      I don’t like too the an online storage service for my backups. I want the backup to be close to me too . I do not like things I can’t control too.

    2. Olawale Daniel Avatar
      Olawale Daniel

      Hey Niki,

      But still you still need cloud backup…I am now using Google Drive for my backup including some site files as well. 🙂

  4. PEEJAY Avatar

    Backing up data in the cloud is great..
    Online storage services will be much appreciated by people like me who spend so much time just to back up my files …

    Gonna give it a try……

    Thank you for sharing this interesting post bro…

  5. Julia Ivanushkina Avatar
    Julia Ivanushkina

    Creating automated backups that are sent to the cloud can certainly make life easier for IT specialists and website managers. Good uses cases for the cloud also include hosting images. Rather than hosting them on your site, why not host them in the cloud. This can speed up your website load times and also increase your rankings in Google. Speed is king and this is a little secret that can bring strong benefits. However, there continues to be security concerns with storing sensitive data on another website and server. This is the same risk with online banking. If you do decide to put your backups in the cloud, make sure to periodically make backups to a flash drive, DVD, or an alternative cloud service to ensure data is not lost or corrupted.

  6. Samson Oluwafemi Abiodun Avatar
    Samson Oluwafemi Abiodun

    There are lot and lots of advantage than disadvantage in backing up in the clouds, but many people needs to learn the advantage more before the disadvantage so as to avoid a rush in rush out issue when it becomes more important than the veins in your neck.

  7. Nishan Avatar

    Is it safe?

    1. Olawale Daniel Avatar
      Olawale Daniel

      Yes, it is safe if you signup with the right company 🙂

  8. John Okada Avatar
    John Okada

    Cloud computing is definitely the wave of the future. Although like the other commenter said there are advantages and disadvantages, it comes down to how much research you do when choosing your cloud server. Not all companies are the same. One good site which I found helpful when shopping for my cloud server was Top10CloudStorage.com. The reviews are excellent and the all seem to be unbiased, so you can be sure to get an honest assessment of what is out there.

    1. Olawale Daniel Avatar
      Olawale Daniel

      Thanks John for your recommendations.

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