Future-Focused Data Protection: To The Cloud And Beyond
options for moving
your current data
to the cloud.
Disk, tape and cloud are becoming the new norm for
enterprise data protection. In this eBook, we describe
both standard and emerging uses of disk, tape or cloud,
specifically in regards to backup, disaster recovery and
archiving. We also offer some final advice about ways
to incorporate each type of storage media into your own
data protection and archive strategy.
Where Does Backup Fit
Among Disk vs. Cloud Options?
Enterprise IT teams continue to face the ageold
struggle of how to best protect their
company’s data and applications while managing
shrinking budgets and thin resources.
Data protection technologies have since
evolved to address these issues, first with faster
tape backups and then with various disk or
cloud options. Disk backup offers more
automated backups and shorter restore times
over tape, while cloud backup promises easier
management with cost effective, flexible
operating expense (OpEx) payment models.
With the various benefits to each method,
organizations are faced with deciding between
disk and the cloud to manage their backups.
Disk vs. Cloud: When Is Cloud
Backup the Right Fit?
It should come as no surprise that organizations
of various sizes have different needs
for data protection. For example, small- to
midsize businesses may do fine utilizing one
of the many popular cloud backup services
available for their file systems or virtual servers.
When it comes to enterprise organizations,
however, the prospect of cloud backup may
seem a lot more daunting. Beyond their own
file shares, many large companies have growing
interconnected database systems with data sets
that comprise hundreds of terabytes. Backing
up or restoring such data sets on a nightly basis
with a cloud provider could incur significant
bandwidth costs. Then, there is the backup time
involved. Beyond the restoration of occasional
files, there is also the issue of how long it might
take to restore larger data sets, if needed.
Finally, large enterprises have a diverse set of
backup applications and legacy systems.
Cloud backup services have developed methods
to address these potential drawbacks. Where it
makes sense, these tactics may include “seeding”
initial backup data with a temporary onsite appliance; the use of wide-area network optimization
to boost data transmissions;
deduplication to minimize the amount of data
transmitted or stored; and the transmission
of only changed data since the most recent
backup. Depending on the cloud service
provider’s service-level agreement, larger
cloud restoration needs may even include the
provider shipping hardware or tapes containing
the customer’s full backup data sets.
DID YOU KNOW?
plans to store
backup data for
one to three years.
Such cloud backup processes have since
allowed many mid-range companies to replace
their local backups to disk or tape with cloud
backup. However, some enterprise organizations
are holding out when it comes to cloud
backup — transitioning to a cloud backup service
poses a “rip and replace” risk and costs for
diverse production environments.
Enterprise Backup Favors a
Blend of Disk With Cloud
Faced with a large volume of data to protect,
many enterprise organizations are opting
against the cloud for backup. Now seeing tape
as more suited to a low-cost, long-term
retention and archiving solution, enterprises
have begun to replace tape as their primary
backup medium. They choose, instead, to use
local disk backup technologies for fast, local
restores. Then, to protect their data offsite, they
replicate the backup data to the company’s own
secondary remote data center, to a colocation
facility, or even to an outside cloud provider.
Disk has finally
surpassed tape as
54 percent of
methods in 2014.
Faced with a large volume of
data to protect, many enterprise
organizations are opting
against the cloud for backup.
Leading backup software vendors have
started to integrate external cloud-capable
functionality within their solutions. This is
also true for backup
hardware such as the
makers of purpose-built backup appliances
(PBBAs). PBBAs, which often sit at the edge
of a corporate network, are used to centralize
backup data from multiple applications and
devices while reducing the overall data stored
via deduplication. Replicating these appliances
allows for a “plug and play” approach which
eliminates any “rip and replace” risks that
enterprises are concerned about.
Such enterprise storage and backup hardware
vendors have started to let cloud providers
host secondary physical or virtual versions of
vendor hardware at the provider’s site. Often
used for offsite protection for recovery copies
or long-term retention needs, this practice
speeds up replication to the cloud, especially
when sending deduplicated data from the
customer’s hardware to the cloud provider’s
hardware. Depending on the service model
adopted by the provider, such cloud data
replication functionality may even be offered
in a pay-as-you-go, OpEx cost model.
Disk vs. Cloud for Backup?
Why Not Both?
Data backup and recovery are still big customer
pain points, but new developments in these
areas will continue to come from software
vendors, hardware vendors and cloud providers.
Organizations should keep an eye out for
partnerships and joint solutions that combine
the best of disk and cloud with offsite data
protection, while still offering scalable, pay-asyou-
go cloud payment structures. Plus a tape
out option to protect a “gold copy” of that data
offsite for extended retention or security from
cyber threats are key features to consider.
Exploring Disk, Tape and Cloud
in Disaster Recovery
Backup and recovery are often seen as two
sides of the same coin. After all, the purpose
of a data backup is the recovery of information.
Yet when enterprises try to decide among
disk, tape and cloud in disaster recovery, they
usually need more than a simple definition
of “recovery.” Disaster recovery includes the
processes, habits, plans and best practices
that give an organization the best chance of
salvaging critical IT systems and data after
Choosing the right vehicle — disk, tape and/or
cloud backup — comes from careful assessment
and identification of the company’s unique, tiered disaster recovery requirements.
While each organization’s disaster recovery
needs are different, the following is a sampling
of popular disaster recovery choices for
Disaster recovery includes the
processes, habits, plans and
best practices that give an
organization the best chance
of salvaging critical IT systems
and data after a disaster.
Disaster Recovery Words to Live By:
Redundant and Offsite
One disaster recovery truism is that there
should always be copies of backup data stored
and protected at a secure offsite location.
Ideally, this location should be far away from
the primary data center, even in a different
region, if possible.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know
it is common
to spend 25% of
their IT budgets
This advice syncs with the definition of disaster
recovery set by the Storage Networking
Industry Association, which states that disaster
recovery should be “a comprehensive process
of setting up a redundant site (equipment and
work space) with recovery of operational data.”
Getting one or more redundant copies of data
offsite is a disaster recovery gold standard.
However, the ratio of disk, tape and cloud used
to achieve this standard is left to the discretion
of the organization.
Tape: The Affordable Workhorse
As a good practice, many enterprise companies
have achieved their offsite redundancy goals by
routinely backing up their data to tape, and
then sending the tapes to a secure third-party
for offsite tape vaulting. For many reasons,
affordable cost included, many organizations
still use this practice today.
According to a
2015 ESG report,
88% of companies
say the cloud is
or critical to a
However, delays can occur when retrieving and
restoring offsite backup tapes. An organization’s
disaster recovery assessment might find that
mission-critical applications need a shorter
recovery time objective than what tape allows.
This is where other disk and cloud options
Increasing Popularity of Replication
In the past 10 years, various data replication
methods have become popular choices as a
natural evolution of enterprise-wide data protection
strategies. In the past, replication was a
costly proposition that required investing in a
second data center before ensuring adequate
offsite disaster recovery and replication.
When it comes to disaster recovery options
today however, organizations have more
affordable options to ensure the secure and
rapid replication, transport and digital storage
of their data from Point A — typically a primary
data center — to Point B, an secondary offsite
data center provided by an external cloud or
There are many replication nuances and
methods to choose from, including cloud
providers that offer disaster recovery as a
service. Many backup software and hardware
vendor solutions at customer sites also offer
extensible replication functionality to the cloud.
Replication From DPA to the Cloud
According to a 2015 report from
of backup jobs over the next two
years will be performed by some type of backup
appliance or data protection appliance (DPA).
DPAs, also called purpose-built backup
appliances (PBBA), can improve backup times
while reducing storage space required via
deduplication. Recognizing the need for more
affordable offsite disaster recovery, leading
DPAs now offer streamlined replication of
previously deduplicated data to a secondary
appliance hosted at one or more external cloud
providers. New cloud pricing models are also
available to allow offsite disaster recovery with
DPA replication, based on some type of payper-
Meeting offsite disaster recovery requirements
no longer requires investment in a separate,
costly disaster recovery site. Technology
innovation and new choices in disk, tape and
cloud backup make it easier than ever to
afford viable offsite data protection and
Options Abound for Disk,
Tape and Cloud in Archiving
The Difference Between
The need to improve data backup, recovery
and archiving operations routinely tops the
to-do lists of enterprise IT professionals, since
growing data volumes are straining the IT
infrastructures tasked with data protection and
recovery. There is also the burden of retaining
or archiving data to meet strict governance,
compliance or eDiscovery requirements, while
managing flat to declining budgets.
Many organizations have deployed a mix of
disk, tape and cloud solutions to meet their
storage needs. However, the question becomes
how to ensure long-term retention in a cost
effective way. Luckily, new options are
increasingly focused on integrating the best
of all worlds with tiered storage using disk,
tape and cloud in archiving.
“ Backup is really used to restore
data in the event of a server
crash. Archiving is intended to
restore information in support
of corporate goals.”
— Michael Osterman, President, Osterman Research
The Difference Between
Backup and Archive
Backup vendors and industry pundits explain
the difference between backup and archive in
various ways. Knowing the difference can help
companies evaluate various options for disk,
tape and cloud in their archiving strategy.
In an Enterprise Strategy Group white paper
archival software and platforms, senior analyst
Jason Buffington defined digital archiving as
“the long-term retention and management of
electronic information that has been purposefully
retained to satisfy records management,
data management, regulatory compliance or
litigation support requirements.” He further
distinguished backup data from archives, noting
that “backup data is typically a temporary copy
of a data set that is ultimately overwritten.”
The discussion of backup versus archiving is not
new. As early as 2006, Computerworld asked
experts to differentiate between backup and
archive. Michael Osterman, president of
Osterman Research, said, “Backup is really used
to restore data in the event of a server crash.
Archiving is intended to restore information in
support of corporate goals.”
Backup expert and author W. Curtis Preston
noted that the distinction was one of retrieving
data, as an archive would do, versus recovering
data, as backup or recovery would.
Sorting Archives From Backup via
Without a good policy to separate true archive
data from the backup stream, two problems can
arise. First, backup copies become used as a
costly, ineffective archive. Second, long-term
retention volumes keep growing exponentially,
thereby needing more expensive storage, along
with the equipment and resources to manage it.
To avoid these issues, companies have started
to implement storage tiering solutions with
built-in policy automation. Such solutions
help move archive data outside of the backup
data stream. They send it, instead, to another
storage tier with low-access, low-cost characteristics
more appropriate for long-term retention.
For regulatory or business retrieval requests,
tape and cloud are increasingly seen as the
ideal, low-cost, secure, off-site retention tier for
a company’s “gold copy” archives. For faster
operational restores from backup data,
however, on-site, highly available disk is often
the chosen tier.
Tape and Cloud as a
Powerful Offsite Storage Tier
Increasingly, enterprise companies have
started to favor local disk-based backup that
is streamlined with data protection appliances
(DPAs) using inline deduplication. Missioncritical
backup data is then replicated for
offsite disaster recovery to a cloud or colocation
Using preset options for policy-based data
movement, DPAs offer the management and
storage of both backup and archive data sets
on the local appliance, where each type of data
can be managed under different retention rules.
Appliance integration occurs between both
leading backup application and leading archival
applications. Special compliance, governance and long-term retention features ensure data
integrity for data that is stored on the local
appliance or replicated to a remote appliance
in the cloud.
Many organizations see the economic benefits of tape for
long-term retention and archiving, but don’t want the headache
of daily tape management.
Given the emergence of more affordable
OpEx-based, pay-per-consumption cloud
services, many enterprises have started to look
to secure cloud providers that host the same
secondary data protection appliances. Having a
secondary appliance in the cloud is an option
for faster, more affordable WAN replication of
already deduplicated, local data sets.
Once archival data is stored securely offsite in a
secondary appliance, some appliances can even
offer a “tape-out” functionality that allows tape
to be used as another storage tier for archival
or long-term retention.
Many organizations see the economic benefits
of tape for long-term retention and archiving,
but don’t want the headache of daily tape
management. Here, tape and cloud providers
are emerging with options to fit an organization’s
multiple needs for backup and archiving.
Look for providers who let you “have your cake
and eat it, too,” by combining the automation
of DPAs and offsite replication with managed
tape-out and data restoration services.