Three Steps to Moving Legacy Backups to the Cloud

One of the significant challenges regarding data protection is managing its data set. Secondary storage tiers store five to ten times as much data as production data stores and can overwhelm the data center. IT planners are looking to cloud storage for relief, and in many ways, the cloud can deliver.

Step 1: Don’t Abandon Legacy Applications

Depending on the application, organizations may not need to abandon their investment in their legacy backup software application. Some legacy applications provide stable cloud support others are lacking. IT planners need to look for a solution that can not only use cloud storage as a DR copy of backed up data but also archive old backup jobs to the cloud. Migrating old jobs to the cloud alleviates on-premises secondary storage capacity issues.

IT planners should also look to see if their legacy solution, in combination with their cloud provider, could leverage the provider for disaster recovery, also known as Disaster Recovery as a Service. Even if the legacy application doesn’t natively support DRaaS like some of the cloud solutions do, the provider can often fill the gap with processes and people to help the organization create a viable cloud-based DR strategy.

Step 2: Migrate Old Backup Jobs to Cloud Storage

If the legacy application can migrate old backup jobs to the cloud, then migration is the next step. Moving old backup jobs to the cloud while leaving the primary protection process unchanged is a low risk strategy.

During this step, the organization should decide on or reevaluate its backup retention policy. IT planners may need to remind the organization that backup is not archive and that retention of backup data should be for the shortest period possible. An archive process should manage data that requires specific retention requirements. Data management is especially important in the cloud since capacity is being rented instead of owned. Storing terabytes of data that the organization will never access is like renting a vacation home and never going there.

Step 3: Direct New Backups to Cloud Storage

The third step is to direct new backups to the cloud. In most cases, the new backups are stored on premises and then immediately replicated to cloud storage. Organizations should keep on-premises storage to facilitate day-to-day recovery requests without cloud latency but having the most recent copy in the cloud prepares the organization to leverage it for disaster.

The eventual goal is to have only the two or three most recent backups stored on-premises and the rest, based on a robust data management strategy, stored in the cloud.

StorageSwiss Take

Moving an enterprises backup to the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean going to a cloud-native solution. Many legacy cloud backup solutions have cloud integration options. When coupled with the right provider, one that can provide a custom cloud solution, by combining people and processes to better complete cloud integration, a legacy cloud solution can deliver much of the same capabilities as one of the more modern cloud-native solutions. The advantage is the organization can retain its investment in on-premises capabilities and not sacrifice them in the name of cloud storage.

To learn more about moving enterprise data protection to the cloud watch our on demand webinar “Moving the Enterprise Backup to the Cloud – A Step-By-Step Guide.” All attendees can download our exclusive white paper “Why Cloud Backup Doesn’t Work for Enterprises.”

Watch On Demand

George Crump is the Chief Marketing Officer at VergeIO, the leader in Ultraconverged Infrastructure. Prior to VergeIO he was Chief Product Strategist at StorONE. Before assuming roles with innovative technology vendors, George spent almost 14 years as the founder and lead analyst at Storage Switzerland. In his spare time, he continues to write blogs on Storage Switzerland to educate IT professionals on all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought-after public speaker. With over 30 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS, SAN, Virtualization, Cloud, and Enterprise Flash. Before 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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