The mature and stable backup market has seen an influx of innovative technologies over the past few years and organizations can now choose a mix of backup technologies that are just right for them. Backup-to-tape is slowly being phased out and replaced with disk-based backup targets, and backup appliances and cloud services are also being added to the mix.
IDC's recent survey of storage managers shows that 30% of European organizations are already using backup-as-a-service and that a further 43% are planning to add cloud services to their mix of backup technologies in the next 12 months.
With so many options to choose from, it can be a challenge to design a future-proof backup strategy. Here are three key points to consider when choosing your next backup solution:
- Can you back up to the cloud seamlessly and recover selectively? The key criterion for future-proofing your backup strategy is whether your backup solution can connect to the cloud and therefore let you leverage the cloud as a backup target. There are many cloud providers in the market — global, regional, and local — and it is important that you can connect to the cloud provider of your choice using the right APIs. The solution should also have features that support the use of cloud — for example, data deduplication and change-block tracking to reduce the data volume being sent over the Internet, or WAN acceleration to speed up the network traffic and ensure backup performance over the network link. Recovery from the cloud requires a flexible solution to recover either individual files, full workloads/applications, or an entire server. Ultimately, you want the cloud to become a seamless extension in your backup strategy, so that you can use data deduplication and compression across your on-premises estate as well as in the cloud and have flexible recovery options.
- Can you contain cost? The cost structure for cloud backup is still not properly understood. 85% of organizations expect cloud storage to be cheaper than on-premises storage solutions, but cost drivers work differently in the cloud. While uploading and storing data in the cloud might be very attractively priced, downloading data for restore can be quite costly, depending on your cloud provider's business model. When choosing your next backup solution, it is important to ensure that the data footprint sent over the Internet and stored in the cloud is as small as possible, through the use of data deduplication and compression technologies, for example. Offering different recovery options is also essential to contain cloud-related costs, so that you can recover only what you need and consequently only pay for what you need to recover.
- Can you replicate to and from the cloud to ensure cost-effective and reliable disaster recovery (DR)? Backup and replication are essential parts of any disaster recovery strategy. 30% of European storage managers are currently redesigning their disaster recovery strategy to ensure faster recovery times for business-critical applications and provide productivity applications for employees. Many organizations do not have the means to replicate to a secondary site, which is accepted as a best practice. Adding cloud to the mix adds a secondary site at a fraction of the cost of a traditional disaster recovery setup. Replication to and from the cloud is an important feature to enable successful DR.
Ultimately, your new backup solution should give you the flexibility to take advantage of any backup technology that you want to deploy, and leverage the benefits of cloud if you want to use cloud services or, if you are not already using cloud services, provide the option to do so in the future, when the time is right for your organization.
If you would like to learn more about the characteristics of a future-proof backup strategy, download our complimentary white paper, “Choosing the Right Public Cloud for Better Data Protection”.