A Guide to Cloud Data Replication

Topics: Data Center Management

The explosive growth of data and the ongoing pressure on IT departments to eliminate downtime are creating a new dynamic in how to approach data recovery and replication.

For improved performance, organizations are turning to faster data replication solutions, such as disk-based backup appliances, that enable faster backups as well as improved recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO). The right appliance, such as the market leading EMC Data Domain®, will also help to lower costs by using built-in deduplication to reduce the amount of data that must be stored.

However, because data capacity requirements are growing so rapidly, organizations are also turning to cloud-based solutions for backup and replication so they don’t have to invest in incremental capital resources—and can still drive faster RTOs and RPOs. Cloud data replication services not only deliver cost savings and performance improvements, but they also allow organizations to scale their offsite storage quickly as capacity requirements continue to expand.

The shift to cloud data replication and disk-based backup does not mean that tape is going away completely. But it does alter the role of tape so that it will be used more for archival storage than for disaster recovery or other time- and performance-critical applications. The ideal solution will give you the opportunity to do replication in the cloud with a disk-based appliance, with the added option of using a legacy tape management solution for archival or long-term retention purposes.

Why Data Replication in the Cloud

Best practices for any company is to back up and replicate data at an offsite, secure facility so that it can be recovered and restored in the event of downtime, while also ensuring the data is available for compliance and e-discovery protection. Growing capacity requirements are making it more difficult to do backups in a timely manner, and are causing companies to spend money on additional storage systems to store more data.

With traditional replication models, organizations will typically set up a second site for replication, which offers added protection for disaster recovery purposes. However, if the organization is moving replication off-site but is keeping the ownership and management in-house, it has to pay for the real estate, equipment, power, cooling and staffing of that secondary site. It also means additional time, resources and expense when the site has to expand and add more equipment, particularly as storage capacity requirements grow, which is inevitable in the current IT environment.

The cloud model offers a cost-effective, efficient and highly scalable alternative to doing data replication in house. The cloud model could have been designed with data replication in mind. It perfectly suits this purpose, particularly where there is a growing need for faster recovery. However, not all cloud provider offers the same capabilities, so IT leaders and other decision makers should look for certain key characteristics in a cloud data replication service, including:

  • State-of-the-art backup and replication technologies using disk-based solutions and deduplication capabilities to ensure faster and more efficient replication. A great model for this is to have one backup appliance such as EMC Data Domain on-site and a second one in the cloud for backup and replication.
  • High-speed, reliable network connectivity so that replication can be handled quickly and efficiently on a wide-area network. It pays to ask if the cloud provider uses the latest networking technology, such as software-defined networking. IT should also ensure that the supplier offers a wide range of carrier choices in its facilities.
  • Highly secure facilities that are designed with disaster recovery in mind. By moving data replication to a leading data center colocation provider such as Iron Mountain, the business can take advantage of some of the most secure facilities in the world.
  • Expert staffing and support so that the internal IT organization can avoid the recurring costs of operating a dedicated recovery site. Additionally, by hosting the cloud service with the right data center provider, IT can take potentially take advantage of a wide range of incremental services, such as remote hands, migration services and compliance support.
  • A usage-based subscription model so the company only pays for what it uses through capacity-based subscription pricing. This can lead to enormous cost savings because the company won’t have to continually buy new storage devices to keep up with growing capacity requirements.

Depending upon the backup and replication solution already in place, as well as the organization’s data profile, there may be additional criteria to expect from a supplier. For example, if the organization has an investment in legacy tape, it might want the option of continuing to use tape for archival and retention uses. In that case, the cloud provider should also offer services for archival tape management.

Taking the Next Step

As data storage requirements continue to grow, cloud data replication will be the right solution for more and more organizations. Cloud data replication offers a wide range of advantages versus in-house solutions, including higher performance, reduced costs, improved disaster recovery and simplified manageability. Companies will simply have to consider it.

The challenge is to ensure that the organization chooses the best cloud supplier for its purposes. Among the key characteristics to look for include next-generation solutions, such as EMC Data Domain, as well as an experienced and reputable cloud provider, particularly one that also delivers data center colocation services.

Iron Mountain Cloud Data Replication for EMC Data Domain is a leading cloud solution that comes with the support and backing of two of the industry’s most trusted suppliers of information technology and protection solutions.

Learn more about how Iron Mountain and EMC can support cloud data replication initiatives.

Do you have questions about data management? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain's Data Management team. You'll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.


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