Backup and Recovery: On-Site, in the Cloud or Both?

    When it comes to backup and recovery, many enterprises are turning to the cloud because, well, it’s just so darned convenient. There’s little or no hardware to buy, and you don’t have to worry about exceeding capacity or shelling out for costly over-provisioned resources.

    And yet, on-site recovery options are still hitting the channel, with new generations of appliance-based hardware stressing speed of recovery from local resources even as they tap cloud services for those who need them.

    A case in point is Unitrends’ new Recovery-943 appliance, which couples a 97 TB tiered architecture with public and private cloud capabilities to ensure both data redundancy and speedy recovery times. The device offers separate storage levels for OSes, metadata and backup data sets, using a mix of solid-state and traditional disk storage. With tools like adaptive deduplication and failover virtualization, the 4 RU unit can put Windows and VMware environments back on-line within five minutes. It can also recover virtual images onto dissimilar physical and virtual hardware, regardless of makes, models or installed components.

    Meanwhile, STORServer has released a number of key upgrades to its integrated appliances designed to bolster their ability to handle larger data loads. On the low end, the entry-level Backup Appliance (BA) line has two new models — the BA601 and BA701 — that hold up to 9 TB and 15 TB respectively and can accommodate 1 TB and 2 TB of daily changes. The mid-level Enterprise Backup Appliance (EBA), based on the IBM System x M4 server, ups the daily change capacity to between 3 TB and 10 TB, while the top-end Instant Recovery (IR) now scales up to 40 TB, with replication capabilities across the IR, EBA and BA lines. All three appliance families are built on the x64 platform and feature a streamlined version of the Tivoli Storage Manager platform.

    In more cloud-facing appliances, work is also proceeding to the backup and recovery processes quickly and more responsively. Part of this involves optimizing the WAN connection between the on-premises device and the cloud provider. Riverbed Technology recently pushed the ball a little further with the new Whitewater 3010 and a new version of the Whitewater operating system. The appliance features 32 TB of local disk cache, tied to up to 160 TB of cloud storage, as well as in-line dedupe, compression and encryption. WWOS 2.0 features 64-bit file system support, as well as virtual machine management technology from Veeam Software and support for Windows Active Director.

    And just recently, Fujitsu released a new platform aimed at helping systems integrators and other channel providers establish backup and recovery services. The package includes Fujitsu’s Virtual Machine Protection (VMP) appliance built on the Primergy server and the Eternus storage system, tied together with Symantec’s NetBackup software. One of the first implementations of the system came through the UK’s Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, which is offering a range of tape- and disk-based protection and recovery options.

    The good news in backup and recovery is that it doesn’t have to be a cloud vs. local decision. The growing trend, like so much on the cloud these days, is for a hybrid approach that delivers the speedy response of a near-line solution coupled with the scalability and redundancy of the cloud.

    It also means that B&R is no longer limited to the very large. Small and mid-sized firms have tremendous stakes in their data as well, so it’s certainly gratifying to know that there are robust ways to keep it safe without breaking the bank.

    Arthur Cole
    Arthur Cole
    With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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