Virtualising backup with the cloud is powerful, effective and extremely safe. But just because data is now being archived off-site does not mean that hardware can be completely removed from your backup strategy.
In fact, physical hardware may still have an extremely important role to play in your cloud backup strategy.
1. Export by hard drive
The initial speed of a cloud backup may take weeks to complete as you transfer terabytes of data offsite. The actual time taken will depend on network and broadband speeds. Without careful traffic management, the uploads may negatively impact day-to-day operations too.
The process can be accelerated by shipping physical drives to the backup provider so that the data can be copied locally. This will be exponentially quicker – and arguably more secure – than trying to upload over the internet.
2. Restore by hard drive
Restoring from cloud archives is just as important – and fraught with the same difficulties. Speed of recovery will be limited by available internet bandwidth and download speeds.
For downloads that can be sized in gigabytes, online recovery will probably be acceptable. But for a disaster recovery scenario which involves a large amount of data, the speed of transfer is critical.
In the same way that physical hard drives can accelerate seeding of backups, they can also be employed to speed up recovery. If you plan to make cloud backup your principal method of data recovery, check to see if your service has the option of shipping physical disks.
3. Cloud as backup
The issue of time to recovery is of critical importance. Knowing that a complete dataset may take days to recover from the internet, it may be that the cloud is best deployed as a secondary backup.
In this scenario, your existing systems provide real-time services for instant recovery, while periodic (daily / weekly / monthly) backups are replicated to the cloud. Maintaining physical backups on-site minimises time to recovery, while off-site backups help to maintain the integrity and ensure that data is always recoverable.
4. Local servers for recovery testing
You know that your data is always protected when using cloud backup services – but how do you go about recovering it? Keeping spare physical servers will allow you to test your recovery protocols and ensure that they deliver against business needs.
For best results, keep at least one example of each bare metal server to ensure everything works correctly.
5. Physical recovery documentation
Modern business is driven by digital data – but there will always be a place for hard copy records in certain circumstances. In the case of disaster recovery, you must maintain physical, off-line copies of the information required to brings systems back online.
Records must include the recovery action plan, applications and serial numbers. And don’t forget to include contact details for the individual who holds the administrative passwords required for recovery and reconfiguration.
The future is hybrid
Until available bandwidth increases exponentially, there will always be a place for physical assets in your backup regime. The trick is knowing where to divide the load between local and cloud.
WTL offer a range of cloud based solutions. that can extend the rigour of your on-premise backup without without compromising control, visibility, or auditability.
For more assistance in defining a cloud backup strategy that delivers the reliability, speed and security your business demands, please give us a call.