Planning for Cloud Backup: Working with the Right Provider

This post is the second part of a two-part series. Click here to read part one, Planning for Cloud Backup: Best Practices and Considerations.

The pace of cloud is pretty blistering. We’re seeing new services and offerings diversifying the competitive landscape and giving organizations and users many new options. In fact, Gartner recently pointed out that the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 16.5 percent in 2016 to total $204 billion, up from $175 billion in 2015. That’s a lot of growth.

In our previous post – we discussed a few considerations and best practices when it comes to cloud backup solutions. Now, we discuss working with the right kind of provider. Please remember, it’s not always about cost. Rather, your provider must align with your business and your strategy. This means providing services which are easy to use, compatible with your systems, and are easy to manage. The last thing any organization wants is to experience outages due to poor cloud partner integration.

READ MORE: Understanding Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery

Consider this, Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network Power have just released the results of the latest Cost of Data Center Outages study. Previously published in 2010 and 2013, the purpose of this third study is to continue to analyze the cost behavior of unplanned data center outages. According to the new study, the average cost of a data center outage has steadily increased from $505,502 in 2010 to $740,357 today (or a 38 percent net change). With this in mind – working with a good cloud backup provider not only helps mitigate this outage risk and associated costs; it also allows you to be a lot more flexible with our cloud-based data.

And so, when it comes to cloud backup and planning, it’s important to know and understand which product and vendor to work with. Remember, every environment is unique so the requirements of each organization will certainly differ. Still, there are some important considerations which must be made:

  • System compatibility. When working with a cloud backup solution, it’s important to take the time and verify that all systems being backed up are compatible. For example, if snapshots are being taken of a virtual environment – can those snapshots be then used to revert or recover the VM? Can they scale into other cloud systems or even an on premise data center? Will the snapshot only take an image of the VM’s storage and nothing else? Using the same concept, we can apply compatibility with other systems within an organization as well – databases, file servers, applications, and others as well. During the planning process, IT teams will need to work with the cloud backup vendor to ensure that their systems are compatible and are capable of being backed up to the functionality desired. Remember, the goal isn’t only to back up the data. One of the biggest benefits of a modern cloud-based backup solution is the fast turnaround of data recovery. So, administrators must be sure that their data is not only backed up, but is capable of quick and effective recovery.
  • Ease of use and training. When working with a cloud backup solution, it’s important to ensure a relative ease of use for the product. Administrators must be able to perform daily tasks to make sure that their data is being backed up safely and normally. There will be times when training is involved to further entrench the technologies within the organization. This is necessary for a smooth backup process since data backup and recovery are vital parts of an IT environment.
  • Management tools and feature considerations. Depending on the cloud platform chosen, there will be many feature considerations involved with the product. As mentioned earlier, data deduplication/compression, encryption, compliance support, VM compatibility, and archiving are just a few examples. Others may include direct virtual environment integration, or even cloud-ready disk-based backup solutions. When selecting the right technology and vendor, it’s important for the organization to establish the business case and need for a given product and its features. Once that is established, the other important task is to familiarize the management tool set. Although native tools offered within the product are powerful, there may be a need for 3rd party offerings as well. Since cloud is a distributed ecosystem, it’s important to consider multi-site deployments. When working with numerous sites and environments, management tools can go a long way in ensuring that data is being backed up normally and efficiently. That means proper data usage, minimal waste within resources, and direct visibility into the cloud backup environment.

Whenever cloud and backup solutions are in the discussion, all infrastructure components which may be affected by the deployment must be considered. Your backup and cloud partner must understand this and be a part of the process. This means compatibility, understanding of the technology and how a backup routine may affect other parts of the infrastructure. There will be times when a backup job may require higher amounts of bandwidth or an appropriate store size – these planning points must be addressed prior to any major rollout. Remember, depending on the environment, there may be options for a pilot or POC. A small-scale rollout of a cloud backup solution may show where some weaknesses can be quickly resolved prior to a large deployment. A good cloud partner can always help there as well.

Source: TheWHIR