Backing data up in the era of the cloud puts an inordinate amount of pressure on the network. The good news is that in the few years the routers that make up most of our extended networks have become a lot smarter. The challenge now is finding a way to make sure the backup software takes advantage of all that increased intelligence.
Asigra and Cisco have been working on just that problem. The companies have partnered to deliver the Asigra Cloud Backup Connector Appliance, which combines a Cisco ISR G2 router and UCS E-Series server blade with Asigra backup software to make cloud backups provided by external service providers appear to be a more natural extension of a local backup appliance.
According to Asigra executive vice president Eran Farajun, Cisco has embedded WAN optimization capabilities in the ISR G2 routers that Asigra can leverage to optimize the cloud backup process. The Asigra Cloud Backup Connector Appliance allows organizations to store up to 10TB of the most recently backed up files locally, and then transfer those files to the cloud at a later time.
As part of its backup service, Asigra is trying to change both the dynamics and economics of backup in the cloud. The company recently altered its pricing model to charge customers more for recovering data in the cloud than for actually storing it. The idea is to encourage customers to store data in the cloud by rewarding users that actually tax the cloud recovery process less as we enter the era of Big Data.
Farajun says that as of yet, no router manufacturer has presented Asigra with access to the same level of WAN optimization capabilities that Cisco has embedded in its ISR G2 routers. But in time, it’s reasonable to expect that WAN optimization will become a standard feature of enterprise-class routers.
Backing up files that are rarely accessed is still a necessity. The challenge has been finding a way to make it practical to do so at a price point that most organizations can afford, while also making more efficient use of next generation networking technology that should be more pervasively deployed in the coming year.