Briefing Note: Dakota Cloud Recovery – Cloud Backup is about Data Center Quality

Cloud backup providers can come in a variety of forms. Some are really backup software developers that happen to leverage the cloud as part of their software solution. These providers count on a generic cloud data center, like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure, to house the data they protect. Others take a vertical stack approach, providing both the software and a purpose built (for backup) cloud data center. Dakota represents a third type. A company that has built a facility to store cloud backup data but leverages third party, off-the-shelf backup software.

It’s About the Facility

The cloud is not some magical place where IT problems never occur. It’s a data center where problems certainly CAN occur. The advantage of the Dakota approach is they can focus on the part of cloud backup that many take for granted, the cloud data center itself. Ironically, it is the actual facility and processes that can cause most of the problems that cloud backup customers face.

First, the facility has to have the best in physical security and access. Dakota has an advantage here. Since they own the data center, they can control access to their physical infrastructure. Second, the facility has to be able to handle the task at hand, in this case, supporting a demanding application like backup and recovery. Dakota’s cloud data center is equipped with NetApp enterprise-class storage systems.

Supporting an application like backup can be a problem for generic cloud providers like Amazon and Rackspace that are running a wide variety of workloads all competing for CPU, Network (internal and WAN) bandwidth and storage capacity. Dakota only has to focus on one thing, backup and recovery, as well as potentially DR-as-a-Service (DRaaS). This allows them to tune all their resources for that specific task.

Third, a facility provider can leverage the data protection solutions that best fit their customers’ needs. In Dakota’s case they offer Seagate EVault for physical server protection and Veeam for virtual server protection. You won’t see this best of breed, solution approach from other providers.

3-2-1 Protection Strategy

Dakota uses a 3-2-1 best practice when implementing their cloud backup designs:

3) They leverage an on-site appliance that keeps three copies of data available (one in production and two backup copies).

2) It keeps those copies on two different on-premise storage devices.

1) It keeps one copy securely off-site in the Dakota Cloud for recovery from a disaster.

A Friend to Resellers

Storage and/or data protection resellers should be confident when working with Dakota. Most cloud backup providers with a reseller program look at the reseller channel as the place business comes from if they can’t take the business directly. Those that do have a channel-only model often turn the channel partner into little more than an agent, making it hard for them to add value.

A Dakota reseller can still sell and install the on-premise backup solution (Veeam or EVault), allowing them to capture revenue from that transaction. They can also leverage Dakota if they are strapped for engineering resources. In either case Dakota becomes the cloud backend for the reseller so that they can offer off-site data protection and DRaaS, just like the big boys.

StorageSwiss Take

When it comes to data protection, facility management and establishing best practices are critical to long-term success. But this is an area that many cloud backup customers and even cloud backup software developers overlook. Dakota is laser focused on facilities and processes since that’s the core of who they are. This focus also gives them the flexibility to provide best of breed data protection software to their customers.

You can learn more about Dakota Cloud Recovery at www.dakotacloudrecovery.com

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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