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Should Cloud Be Part of Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan?
How Cloud enables a fast, agile and cost-effective recovery process
By: Hollis Tibbetts
Jul. 20, 2014 12:00 PM
Recent times have witnessed a huge shift in paradigm of data storage for backup and recovery. As the legendary Steve Jobs said, "The truth lies in the Cloud" - the introduction of the Cloud has enabled the fast and agile data recovery process which is can be more efficient, flexible and cost-effective than restoring data or systems from physical drives or tapes, as is the standard practice.
Cloud backup is the new approach to data storage and backup which allows the users to store a copy of the data on an offsite server - accessible via the network. The network that hosts the server may be private or a public one, and is often managed by some third-party service provider. Therefore, the provision of cloud solution for the data recovery services is a flourishing business market whereby the service provider charges the users in exchange for server access, storage space and bandwidth, etc.
The online backup systems typically are schedule-based; however continual backup is a possibility. Depending on the requirements of the system and application, the backup is updated at preset intermittent levels; with the aim of efficient time and bandwidth utilization. The popularity of the Cloud backup (or managed backup service) business lies in the convenience it offers. The cost is reduced due to elimination of physical resources such as hard disks from the scenario with the added benefit of the automatic execution of the backup.
Cloud-based disaster recovery are a highly viable and useful approach for ensuring business continuity. Using a completely virtualized environment and techniques such as replicated data, services such as LAN Doctors, Inc., a New Jersey-based managed backup service was able to provide 100% uptime when one of their largest clients - a major processor of insurance claims, was hit by a hurricane, lost internet connectivity - and was unable to process claims.
This kind of near-realtime "off-site" disaster recovery capability is now available to organizations of all sizes - not just those large enough to afford redundant data centers with high speed network connections.
The use of Cloud for backup and disaster recovery will grow - the increase in demand of the cloud storage is due mainly to the exponential increase in the more critical data amounts of the organizations over time. Increasingly, organizations are replicating not only data - but entire virtual systems to the Cloud. Adding to the Cloud's advantages is the reduced price, flexibility of repeated testing and the non-rigid structure of the Cloud which gives you full opportunity to scale up or down as per your requirements. The flexibility to restore from physical to Cloud-based virtual machine adds to the attraction.
Why Cloud Is Better
Other Cloud-based recovery services include fail-over servers. In this scenario, in the event of server failure, a virtualized server and all the data can be spun up - while the failed server is recovered.
The Cloud provides significant advantages to many organizations - it enables a full data recovery mechanism by using backups, fail-over servers and a storage site remotely placed so as to keep it safe from the local or regional factors. Meanwhile, the organizations avoid the cost and effort associated with maintaining all that backup infrastructure.
The large corporations - those which can afford redundant and remote compute capacity, and typically already have sophisticated recovery mechanisms running, can benefit by leveraging the Cloud where appropriate - and hence experience even better results than before. Of course, for a large organization to exercise and experience benefits of Cloud to its full in this area, it would need to consider the architecture and applications of their systems and the kind of technology deployed.
Or Is It?
There can also be latency issues in dealing with effectively streaming large amounts of data to the Cloud - versus (for example) having a data storage appliance with built-in deduplication and data compression.
Cloud or Local? The Verdict
With the average size of an organization's data growing at 40% a year, one thing is certain - there is a lot of backing up that needs to get done, both locally and on the Cloud.
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