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Data transfer times are important to uploading data as well as retrieving it. Whether you backup first to the cloud or keep backup copies on-site and then back them up, you need cloud transfers to stay within backup windows. The most efficient way to do this is to choose a backup product that backs up incremental changes and rehydrates them into a full restore. Also, look for backup providers who can accelerate cloud transfers between the on-premise data center and cold storage tiers.
- Amazon Glacier is a member of the Amazon Web services (AWS) family and offers unlimited cold data storage. Amazon isn’t kidding about Glacier being a cold storage tier. Retrieval costs are higher, and data access and recovery can take five hours or more. The two-step retrieval process first retrieves data from the staging area, then offers a 24-hour window to either download it or access it via Amazon EC2. Glacier offers a bulk retrieval option that enables businesses to retrieve TB and PB of data, typically within 5 to 12 hours. This option enables customers to cost-effectively use Glacier to store big data for occasional analysis.
- Google designed Google Cloud Storage Coldline as a direct competitor to Glacier and charges the same amount for monthly storage. Both Amazon and Google discourage frequent data retrieval from their cold storage services, but when customers need to retrieve data fast then Coldline is there with retrieval periods in the milliseconds. Google markets these fast recovery times for the disaster recovery market, where customers may need to download high volumes of data very quickly.
- Microsoft Azure Cool Blob Storage is more like Google Nearline and Amazon S3 Standard I/A than Coldline and Glacier, but it can serve as cold object-based storage. Both hot and cool Azure blobs store unstructured data as objects. As with the other two cold storage services, cool data is much less expensive to store than hot tiers. Data retrieval is in the milliseconds and access costs are higher than storing cold data.
Cold Cloud Backup Vendors
All backup products backup to the cloud as a target, but not all of them optimize backup to cold storage tiers. Typical features for this level of integration include policy-based backup and archiving to the cold storage tier, indexing the tier for faster search and recovery, and offering flexible site choices when recovering data.
Cloud backup vendor CloudBerry Lab supports multiple clouds, including Amazon, Google, and Azure, for cross-platform backup. CloudBerry backs up to cold and cool storage classes as well as hot and warm tiers, and it was one of the earliest backup vendors to support Google Coldline. Image-based backup and strong encryption round out the portfolio.
Cohesity hyperconverges massive secondary storage on-premise, remotely and in the cloud. Cohesity also supports all storage classes and directly backs up to Amazon Glacier, Google Coldline and Azure Cool Blobs.
Commvault backs up to multiple clouds including all three hyperscale public clouds. Its Simpana software can back up directly to Azure Hot and Cool Blobs, and integrates with Amazon S3 and Glacier. Users can adjust some cloud settings using the CommCell Console.
The Benefits of Cold Cloud Storage
Stored data is growing at a terrific pace, and businesses need to retain much of it for compliance, analytics, and research purposes. Keeping all this data on costly storage tiers is extremely expensive, both in capital and operating costs.
Up until now tape has been the solution to cold storage requirements. But massive data volumes and the need to quickly access data for recovery or analytics have outstripped tape’s effectiveness.
This is why the cloud is deservedly popular for storing cold data — and why public cloud vendors have stepped up with cold storage services. IT must still perform due diligence to investigate which cold storage tiers are optimal for their needs and which backup vendors optimize cloud-based cold storage tiers. Although this research will take some time and energy, the cost and durability benefits of cloud-based cold storage are more than worth it.
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