Backup and Recovery in the Private Cloud

Arthur Cole

For public cloud providers, backup and recovery is what's called a wedge. It's the service that gets your foot in the door, after which you hope to convince clients of the myriad other ways in which the cloud can help their business.

Indeed, of all the cloud deployments that have taken place so far, the vast majority are for data backup.

But is the public cloud, still dogged by availability and security issues, necessarily the right choice for B&R? And if not, is there a way in which private clouds could address these concerns and still provide the scalability and efficient use of resources to accommodate increasing data loads?

First off, it must be noted that there are some instances in which the public cloud is not the best option for backup. CA's Andi Mann flags large-volume workloads as one such case, due both to compliance issues and the fact that recovery over public networks can be too slow, even if WAN optimization is in use. You also need to be careful of placing workloads that require specific hardware, such as industrial equipment, barcode scanners or graphics processors, on the cloud. Specific device support is not likely to be available on largely hardware-independent cloud services.

These types of issues can be addressed with a private cloud. However, it will take a fairly sophisticated management stack to keep backed-up environments in sync with operational ones. Continuity Software hopes to address this issue with the latest version of its RecoverGuard system by ensuring configuration continuity between primary and secondary data centers. The package keeps tracks of changes in ESX environments to eliminate conflicts that could hamper or even block recovery.

Even public cloud providers are starting to offer private cloud services as a means to cover all the bases. Earlier this year Verizon and IBM teamed up on the Managed Data Vault system that provides off-site backup and file replication for private clouds. Among a number of options is an on-site storage appliance that allows users to access the service while keeping data close at hand.

That same mindset is permeating backup software development. Developers like Asigra are coming out with platforms, in this case the Asigra Cloud Backup v10, that span public, private and hybrid clouds, ensuring a hook into enterprise environments of all configurations. The package offers an expanded tier of backup and recovery options, from local-only to Backup Lifecycle Manager (BLM)-enable cloud services. It also works across physical and virtual environments.

In the end, it shouldn't come as any surprise that it takes more than one type of cloud to satisfy all the various data needs of the modern enterprise. Cloud technology may prove to be all-encompassing, but that doesn't mean one size fits all.

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