Cloud-based backup: Best strategies and practices
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Hybrid clouds are designed to deliver the best of both private and public cloud infrastructures. Here are three hybrid cloud advantages that can have a huge impact on performance and reduce costs at the same time.
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Advantage 1: Reduce wasted space
Ongoing studies by Dragon Slayer Consulting and other analyst organizations have found that the vast majority of data in data centers -- up to 90% or more -- is infrequently or rarely accessed. That passive data also continues to be protected, snapshotted, replicated and duplicated, consuming expensive storage, network and compute resources. Why not move passive data to lower cost storage in a public cloud? The most common answer to that question is that it's too hard and inconvenient. Not anymore.
There are several vendors with products that can automatically move data to a lower cloud tier today (examples include Avere, EMC, Microsoft, Nasuni, Oracle, Panzura and Zadara, with more appearing every day). There are also some emerging hyper-converged infrastructure systems that automatically migrate data to and from public cloud storage. Passive data is moved automatically based on policies, such as the age of the data or last access date. Retrieving passive data takes a bit longer since it is recalled over the internet, but it no longer consumes local resources. Software from vendors such as Data Dynamics, IBM, NTP Software and Veritas, for example, accomplishes the same thing for file or unstructured data.
Migrating passive data to a lower tier of storage saves expensive primary storage, floor space, rack space, power, cooling, cables and administration -- making it one of the top three hybrid cloud advantages. It also reduces tech refresh times and expenses, as well as data migration costs. Primary data can now receive local, high performance that tends to be more consistent since the amount of active data is relatively small and the system no longer has to manage huge amounts of data that reduces the performance of the primary workload.
Advantage 2: Achieve better performance through backup
Many backup and recovery as a service providers use hybrid clouds to enhance performance. There are two instances when performance is an issue for BRaaS providers:
- The first time data is backed up to the service.
- When a large amount of data must be recovered to a customer site.
The performance answer to this problem is a hybrid cloud. One of the major hybrid cloud advantages that users may need to be reminded of is that, while all backups are eventually stored in the cloud, the most recent backups are also stored locally -- usually in a service provider-supplied appliance or virtual appliance -- to provide local performance for extreme situations. Even if a BRaaS provider is not involved, most backup and recovery software and purpose-built backup appliances have a hybrid option that enables the same process of storing the most recent copies locally and sending all of the backups to a public storage cloud.
Advantage 3: Use cloud bursting for added resources
When workloads spike unpredictably, local resources are often unable to handle the load. The last of our top three hybrid cloud advantages is the ability to solve this performance problem automatically using cloud bursting. A hybrid cloud can migrate that workload to a public cloud based on policies such as resource availability; it then does its work in the public cloud. When finished, the hybrid cloud migrates the results, application data and source data on premises. The hybrid cloud essentially uses the public cloud as an overflow resource in this case. Avere's Virtual Edge Filer offers one of the better examples of cloud bursting.
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