Using the Cloud to Integrate Backup and Archive – HubStor Briefing Note

For decades the best practice for backup and archive was to keep the processes separate. The storage hardware products that support traditional backups are typically very different from those that support archive. The software products are also very different and typically come from two differing vendors. Today’s reality though is that most organizations effectively use their backup solution as a form of archive by setting long retention times on backup data. Also, the secondary storage devices, especially in the public cloud are much more similar than they are different, in most cases being the same storage. The time has come to put the archive vs. backup debate to rest and integrate the two.

If a vendor integrates backup and archive, that vendor needs to make sure to support the requirements of both functions. Meeting these requirements is more difficult than in the past because organizational and government demands of the two process have increased significantly over the past few years. Meeting the needs of both is where most vendors fall short.

In an era where ransomware exists, and users expect almost no data loss, backup needs to be an almost continuous process, where each version of a file is protected. The stored backup data also needs protection from a cyber attack. Storing backup data in a WORM format is a good idea. The problem is that capturing every version of every file requires much capacity. So the integrated backup and archive solution needs to provide deduplication and compression. Also, the solution should offer policy-based retention and version control options so that file versions of data are aged off as they become less relevant.

The advantage of integrating backup and archive is that the archive part of the process can leverage the data in the backup repository instead of making a separate scan of the environment and making an additional copy of data. The archive component also needs the capabilities typical of archive solutions including integrated search and legal hold. Additionally, it should also have the ability to execute particular data set purges to comply with the “right to be forgotten” requirements of legislation like GDPR and CCPA.

HubStor Introduces Continuous Data Protection

Our initial briefing note on HubStor, “Cloud Storage: Graveyard to Goldmine – HubStor Briefing Note”, focused primarily on HubStor’s ability to migrate data from existing SMB and NFS shares to the cloud as well as leverage cloud computing resources to extract value from that data. HubStor creates an ideal cloud data management platform by providing the ability to migrate old data to the cloud gradually. At the time though HubStor couldn’t be considered an integrated backup and archive solution since it had limited real-time backup capabilities. In fact, at the time there weren’t any companies successfully integrating the two processes.

In its most recent update, HubStor is adding continuous data protection and officially enters the market of integrated backup and archive. By default, HubStor detects and captures any changes within 30 seconds of it occurring. Users can adjust the detection time as appropriate. The continuous data protection (CDP) option is available for network file systems (SMB/NFS) and within virtual machines.

HubStor also now includes version control to manage the CDP process to limit the amount of cloud capacity required. With version control users can set how long all versions of files are kept, for example maintaining all versions for a user-defined number of days. They can then reduce the number of versions to a specific number of daily versions for a user-defined period. They can also further reduce that number down to one weekly version for a user-defined number of weeks. Finally they can reduce the number down to one monthly version forever.

StorageSwiss Take

Storage Switzerland is growing increasingly fond of integrating backup and archive as well as using cloud storage as a modern data management repository. HubStor is a complete and integrated backup and archive solution for a variety of on-premises unstructured data and virtual machines as well as cloud-based data sources such as Microsoft Office 365 data (CDP for SharePoint Online is on the roadmap). HubStor provides ideal protection against ransomware, rogue administrators and the more typical application corruption or user error. When combined with its existing archive and data management capabilities, Hubstor creates a compelling and comprehensive solution for its target data sets.

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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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