Is now the time to put backup data to the cloud?

All cloud requirements are not created equal

Today, cloud technologies mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. One thing is for sure, the way one organization leverages a cloud technology is unique from others. As long as we’ve had a robust portfolio of cloud storage technologies, the natural decision exists to identify what data would be good for a storage cloud.

Public cloud storage is a great technology, in fact, it’s long overdue and we may be surprised that it has taken this long to arrive. Finding the use cases can be a challenge today and into the future. But cloud storage may have an option that seems too good to be true: offsite storage of backup data.

There are many indicators that cloud storage can be an excellent resource for backup data, the first of which is cost. Like storage solutions on-premise, there can always be a storage solution of lesser cost. The same goes for cloud storage, it seems there is a virtual race to free going on right now. Another indicator that cloud technologies are a good candidate for backup data is the simple fact that they are offsite. It sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of hurdles to moving data offsite for some organizations. The steadfast example here is tape, which oddly isn’t well revered yet is still widely used. One last indicator that backup data is a good candidate for a storage cloud is the fundamental unlimited amount of storage available. It’s very difficult to predict storage needs; so the growth capabilities of a public storage cloud can work in favor of uncertainty.

With any cloud decision (and storage decision for that matter), there needs to be solid controls in place. The fundamental unit of control for cloud storage specific to backup data is encryption. Encryption can take on multiple forms for cloud storage. Transfers are usually encrypted via SSL or similar technologies, much like logging into a secure web site over the web; and for some situations that is where it stops. The sophisticated cloud storage solution will put backup data to the cloud encrypted before it leaves (which in that step is encrypted as well). That way, backup data landing on a public storage cloud can be encrypted in a process that is managed and controlled by the owner of that backup data.

Cloud Storage Conceptual View

No two clouds are the same; and the same goes for backup data profiles. Will cloud storage be a viable option for backup data? For some will it serve the exclusive need, for others possibly in addition to other backup data techniques? Share your comments below.

Editor’s note: Rick Vanover works for Veeam Software, a client of Canada Cloud

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