With the huge advances in public cloud security, efficiency and value for money, many organisations are now planning to move towards cloud backup strategies, which are less complex and more reliable than traditional tape backup solutions. But migrating your backup to cloud from tape can be a big project and does require careful scoping. There are some key questions to ask before embarking on a migration from tape to cloud, which will help you to understand the scale of the project.
Firstly, do you need to move all historical backups to the cloud, or could you start backing up new data to the cloud and gradually reduce on-premises tape dependency as data reaches end-of-life? This is a straightforward approach but depends on the business being comfortable with different RPO and RTOs for new versus aged data.
Next, what is the best way of migrating a large data set to the cloud initially? You can use on-premises network transport methods, or physical transport methods. High speed internet transfer would only be an option for smaller data sets, as can be time consuming.
You might need to consider that when you move data from tape to cloud, it could be prudent to perform any indexing, transcoding or repackaging that will make it easier to extract value from the data once in the cloud.
Do you know if your current backup vendor can natively support a cloud backup store, or are new feature licenses or major version updates required? Once you’ve migrated, can you restore to cloud virtual machines or will data restore to a physical machine?
Can you write data directly to the cloud and do your backup windows support that too? Should you use a traditional storage protocol such as a network file system (NFS)?
Do you need to change your workflows to suit the cloud environment, or will your cloud solution appear as a virtual tape library allowing you to keep the same processes and save time and management overhead?
Does your cloud backup provider give you the scalability and elasticity needed to make changes without disruption to the backup activity? Enterprise cloud providers should have the provisions, AWS offers Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute which can flex to keep processes consistent.
When accessing backup data will this be done in the cloud, or will it be pulled back and accessed on-premises? It could affect the services you purchase, from archives which are seldom accessed to a virtual tape library which holds frequently accessed, recent files.
Can you leverage the cloud to simplify widely distributed backup workflows?
Many cloud providers offer complementary services such as analytics, data lifecycle management or compliance features. Do you need these as part of your backup solution?
Could a cloud integrator help you to scope, implement and migrate your current backup environment across to the cloud?
Getting answers to these questions now will save immeasurable time during and after your move to the cloud and can help you to maximise your budget, by cutting out unnecessary services.