Backing up to the cloud is far more convenient than other approaches.
Most individual users, for example, use cloud backup these days, as they are done in a couple or clicks, or it is done automatically.
But for organizations, there is a bit more involved. Shunting everything to the cloud can result in a host of problems: vast amounts of difficulty in finding data; spiraling costs; and cloud sprawl — data spread around a great many different cloud repositories.
Here are some of the top trends in the cloud backup market:
1. Multi-region clouds
One of the biggest trends for cloud backup is the way companies are using multi-region deployment, said Alexey Baikov, co-founder and CTO, Zesty.
Baikov said that the reasoning behind this distributed cloud approach is straightforward: If all your essential workloads are running in a given region, your cloud backups are inevitably going to be affected at some point or other due to performance slows or downtime.
“When AWS outages occur, the entire region can be brought down,” Baikov said. “This means all your applications and your backups are out until the AWS services in that region are restored. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.”
Baikov recommends several different approaches to avoid such outages. The best protection for these scenarios is to rely on AWS backup service using snapshots, turn to third-party solutions, or even to use S3 as a backup and then store those backups in different regions.
“If one region goes down, you can continue to serve your customers from a backup in a different region,” Baikov said.
2. Mushrooming costs
Cloud backup costs can quickly become a challenge.
When cloud backup was first in use, people just dumped lots of backups into the cloud. It was far simpler for organizations to do away with heavy upfront CapEx costs, like investments in hardware and data centers, to build and refresh their own backup and storage infrastructure. The cloud provider can take care of all that in exchange for a monthly fee.
But as data storage capacity accelerated, so too did the cloud backup bill.
“Storage cost issues will continue to challenge backup operators,” said Matt Hall, CEO, Bocada.
“Backup admins were faced with managing cloud storage usage and, with it, unexpected cloud storage fees.”
For example, lack of oversight of AWS for backup could lead to expired or orphaned snapshots being retained and protected. With that comes storage and backup fees that exceed planned amounts.
“As a result, they’re going back to talking about storage usage costs again, but this time the conversation centers around how to operationalize obsolete data purges and keep storage costs in check,” Hall said.
3. Balancing cost, complexity, and peace of mind
The more regions you are operating in and the more regions you use to distribute your backups to minimize risk, the more complex your environment becomes.
With that complexity and backup distribution comes more expensive cloud costs.
“Be strategic about where and how many regions you want to build on and store your backups,” said Baikov with Zesty.
4. Get rid of it
Most people like to store things. The average garage houses boxes from the last three moves instead of vehicles. And the public storage unit business is booming.
People seem to prefer to keep stuff in a unit for years on end gathering dust. It is the same with cloud storage. An awful lot of data is dumped in there and not all of it needs to be.
“S3 and backups quickly become the relative dumpster ground of the data world: As S3 snapshots and backups accumulate, the cost rapidly inflates,” said Baikov with Zesty.
“One way we see customers minimizing costs is by keeping a good retention policy, using third-party retention tools, and deleting old backups.”
Like other aspects of cloud operation, efficiency is key, both in terms of strategically selecting the regions to store backups and in terms of deleting backups that are old and no longer needed.
5. Backup infrastructure modernization
Wall-to-wall carpeting, wood paneling, and pink bathtubs were once the height of fashion. These days, they are the mark of a house in need of renovation.
And so it is with storage and backup infrastructure. But this also applies to the cloud.
There comes a time when they, too, need a facelift.
“Modernizing backup and archival operations is key for organizations today in the work-from-home era,” said Rich Spring, CRO, FalconStor.
“The transition from tape to disk to cloud has to be quick, without disrupting current operations. We are seeing a need for complete solutions that enable secure backup and archival on-premises and off-site protection using any cloud provider, with tape-free, touch-free automation, to facilitate migration to the cloud.”