The first iterations of cloud backup solutions were designed primarily to protect individual consumer laptops. Those solutions evolved and eventually were scaled to protect an organization’s laptops. The next logical step was to use the cloud for server and virtual machine backup. While initial implementations were sloppy, using the cloud to backup servers and virtual machines is becoming commonplace; the problem is that most cloud backup solutions don’t fully take advantage of the cloud.
The cloud essentially consists of two components, cloud storage and cloud compute. The problem is most cloud backup solutions only use one of the two components; cloud storage. Next generation cloud backup solutions will use cloud compute in addition to cloud storage.
DRaaS Is Just the Beginning
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is the first step that most vendors take in leveraging cloud compute. In the event of a disaster, an organization can start its applications in the cloud, leveraging cloud compute, while eliminating the need for maintaining a secondary DR site. The organization’s server and virtual machines are transformed to run in the cloud provider’s environment. The problem is that most cloud vendors have stopped at DRaaS.
The application should also be able to leverage cloud compute and DRaaS functionality so the organization can perform test/dev work on their systems. They also should be able to leverage the cloud backup for reporting and analytics functions. Finally, they could leverage the DRaaS-like capabilities for app to cloud migration efforts.
Leverage Cloud Compute to Solve Backup Application Scale
One of the challenges with any backup application is how it handles scale. A backup application has to store information about the information it protects. For example, every version of every file that is protected has to be tracked in this database. Given the reality that most backup solutions need to retain these versions for years if not decades, the databases holding backup information can grow quite large. The size of these databases means managing, updating and searching these databases can be very time consuming; impacting backup and recovery performance as well as finding information within the databases.
Most backup applications will force users to reduce the size of these databases by lowering the number of years information is retained and the amount of detail these database hold. By leveraging cloud compute along with cloud storage, a cloud native backup application could solve the scale problem be leveraging all of the compute it has available to itself in the cloud. The result is a backup application with near limitless retention capabilities.
Leveraging cloud compute brings more capabilities than just increased scale. Cloud compute can be leveraged to provide improved data services like context indexing, and compliance features bring far more value to the backup process.
All of the above capabilities are available from stand-alone applications, but that means organizations have to purchase, learn and maintain those applications. A cloud backup application that can fully exploit both sets of cloud resources (storage and compute) could eliminate the need for all of those applications, making the backup process more valuable to the organization than ever.
To learn more about how cloud backup needs to improve, watch our on demand webinar, “The Best VMware Public Cloud Backup & DR Options“.