Seems like we have been backing stuff up forever and now with data growing like the proverbial Topsy (90% of the world’s data was created in the last 2 years – and that was back in 2013!) we have even more data to backup and care about. Yet, things don’t really seem to have changed much in the ways that we are doing things and the pain of doing it. The gripes remain – missing backup windows, takes time, takes too long to restore, unreliable or lost tapes, or worse still the data when you need it most doesn’t restore at all. At last it seems that with advent of the cloud, there could be a better way of doing things. The answer is ‘simples’ as Orlov the Meerkat would say. Basically, let someone else do it for you and put it out to the Cloud, either as the whole backup caboodle, or just the target storage – whatever the decision it’s still got to be better than having to do it all yourself. Mind you at the end of day, irrespective of who it’s farmed out to, the data itself still remains your responsibility, so choose wisely my son.
For example if using a cloud gateway type of device then make sure that it compresses and de-duplicates to minimize the amount of actual data stored, caches the data on the box so that recent ‘near line’ data can be accessed mega quickly, plus that the data is encrypted before it’s sent across the clouds. Another thing to consider is what if you want to change your cloud provider, or your provider goes bust? Well, if the data is in an Amazon S3, or OpenStack Swift compliant format then at least it should not be too much of problem to switch to another provider. A similar set of considerations also apply if instead of using a cloud gateway, you’re putting the whole backup task to a specialist cloud provider. Again, make sure that the format and data management being used allows you to switch to another cloud provider should the need arise, as unlike compute in the cloud, data has weight and is hard to move, so common format and set of tools that allows portability of your precious asset would seem like a good idea…
So, going back to the start of this blog, yes you’ve still got to care about doing data backups, it’s just that hopefully as I have alluded to there are now better ways to do it.
Happy backing-up and may all your restores be successful!
Links to materials related to NetApp’s Hybrid Cloud Announcement (posted 24 February, 2015):