Feeds

Expert view: What is the forecast for cloud backup?

The outlook is hazy

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Even as the number of backup software and appliance vendors grows, cloud backups continue to be a source of confusion and contention.

Like so many things in IT, the answer to "should you use a public cloud backup?” is the ever-annoying "it depends”.

For some cloudy backup is an absolute no go. For others, there is clearly a place for it at the table, usually as a replacement for an expensive disaster recovery site.

You don't have to take my word for it, however: to explore the topic thoroughly, I have gathered the opinions of my betters for your consideration.

Cloud only

El Reg's very own Chris Mellor paints a picture of the evolution of storage in which the tan rectangle representing cloud storage just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

My first question to my brains trust is: "Do you believe that cloud only is the way to do backups?"

Systems architect and virtualisation practitioner Eric Wright says: "We have to recognise that it is also workload specific and organisation specific. Organisations with significant amounts of data and data change will find that cloud-based backups can lead to sticker shock quickly."

Wright adds regulatory issues, long term retention and privacy as additional concerns, believing that cloud-only backup is "out of reach for a number of reasons”.

Craig Waters, host of the popular APACVirtual and vCatchup podcasts and a vExpert and VMUG leader, adds: "Companies still want to hold onto their data, not only for a legal and security requirement but also for an operational recovery requirement."

He compares cloud backups to local backup versus off-site tape, "where cloud replaces tape and provides the capability for DR but there is still a requirement for onsite”. Waters doesn't see the world going all cloud for backups any time soon.

Brandon Kolybaba, CEO and co-founder of Canadian OpenStack-based cloud provider Cloud A, believes that adoption depends on the size of the business and the scope of the IT enterprise.

“Most SMBs can certainly use a cloud-only or cloud-first approach in this day and age,” he says.

He believes larger organisations will face challenges, however, because of the complexity of their fragmented IT systems.

Our experts were definitive: the cloud may play a role but few companies are ready for all-cloud backups just yet. For the smallest of companies it may be possible; the question is, will cloud-only backup policies grow beyond that niche?

Cloud first

If cloud only is unrealistic, what about cloud first? Does it make sense to design all new workloads so that they send their backups to the cloud?

While there is some support for the idea of a cloud-first backup policy, our experts were overall rather cool towards the idea.

Josh Odgers, a virtualisation blogger who also works on Nutanix’s solutions and performance engineering team, suggests there is no single best policy but that a cloud-first policy may be realistic for some customers.

“Cloud first should be a consideration when updating or implementing a new backup strategy,” he says.

And why not; it is our job as sysadmins to consider all possibilities.

Kolybaba believes that a cloud-first backup policy is at least partly a function of where the workload lives.

“If a true cloud approach is in place, backup and disaster recovery is built into the solution so it does not need to be considered,” he says.

He cautions, however, that even when placing your workloads in the cloud you need to double check that backups are taken care of. Assume nothing. That said, if your workload is already in the cloud, backing it up to another part of the cloud makes good sense in his world.

IT ops manager and Reg contributor Adam Fowler puts cloud first aside as a concept and encourages sysadmins instead simply to consider cloud just like any other solution.

“It should be a consideration, but it's still too costly and immature to assume it will most likely be the best fit,” he says.

Sound advice, in my view.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Next page: Hybrid cloud

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?