By Demetri Petropoulos, head of business development at Global Micro Solutions
The weekly tape backup might have worked a decade ago for files and servers, it doesn’t anymore. This is because tape backup does not accommodate the software and service component of online applications like Office 365, Salesforce and Google Docs. As more vendors move their services into the cloud, it makes sense for modern businesses to ditch tape backup in favour of the cloud.
Here are some of the ways cloud solutions overcome tape restrictions.
Cloud covers all the bases
Tapes can only back up on-premise information and infrastructure, yet many companies operate using a hybrid cloud model, which includes private cloud, public cloud and on-premise infrastructure. This means their data resides in multiple locations around the world, making it nearly impossible to aggregate all their information using tape backup.
Cloud solutions are able to back up endpoint devices, virtual machines and software-as-a-service (SaaS) data, as well as on-premise files and servers, to a single location, and store this data in an encrypted and structured format.
Cloud is safer
Because tapes are physical media, they cannot last forever so it’s safe to say they have a 100% failure rate – it’s just a question of when. Tapes can also be misplaced, stolen, damaged by high temperatures or hard knocks, or lost while being transported to the data centre.
Not all tape solutions encrypt data, which puts business information at risk. Cloud solutions encrypt data at every stage – while in the data centre and while being transported. If that encryption is certified, only the customer can access the data as he holds the encryption key.
Cloud is cheaper
A recent study published by Asigra, found that cloud backup is up to 50% more cost-efficient than tape backup in the long term. As data volumes grow, businesses that rely on tape backup will need to buy more tapes, which results in more admin and service costs.
Businesses that use tape backup for on-premise infrastructure will also need different solutions for each workstation, mobile device and cloud service. The cost involved with managing three or four different backup solutions can be enormous as businesses need to keep up with the training and technology needed to run those solutions.
However, as data volumes grow, cloud backup and recovery costs actually decrease for solutions that use new pricing structures such as the Recovery Licensed Model (RLM). This model works on the premise that businesses hardly ever recover 100% of their data, yet standard pricing models charge as if they do. With RLM, businesses only pay for the data they recover – not for the data they back up – which could only be a single file in a year.
Some cloud backup solutions also use agentless architecture. This means software is installed on the main server – rather than on every device – which then scans the entire network and backs up information across all devices and platforms, drastically reducing maintenance, backup time and cost.
Cloud is more reliable
Tapes have to be constantly checked and tested, and while they may perform fine during a recovery drill, they could fail the next time data needs to be recovered.
Drills in the cloud are cheaper and hassle free. Businesses only need to rent the storage space required to run the test. There’s no risk of tape failure and CIOs can select what backup sets they want to test – for example, only business-critical information and not archived data.
Cloud solutions also have built-in autonomic healing. This ensures that various internal checks are automatically done to ensure that different data copies are identical and that any damaged files are automatically fixed.
Cloud is easier
Tape is a notoriously difficult medium to work with. Backup cycles are usually daily or weekly and typically require incremental changes to be backed up daily and the entire dataset to be backed up from scratch on a weekly basis. Depending on the type of solution used (Spanning over numerous tapes), it may also be difficult to recover a single file from a dataset. To access that file, businesses have to restore the entire tape set.
Cloud solutions continuously and automatically back up changes made to files and databases as well as SaaS data. As the data volume or files change, the incremental changes are continuously backed up, keeping an up to date version of the data at all times. They can also restore data into an SaaS environment and, more importantly, can recover a single file without having to restore the entire dataset.
The argument for cloud backup is clear cut – it saves businesses time, money and effort, and minimises the risk of data loss. By partnering with an experienced service provider, companies can save time and money by leaving data protection up to the professionals while getting on with business.