Meeting requirements for infinite data retention and always-on business continuity is, practically speaking, not possible without using cloud resources in some way. On-premises backup and disaster recovery infrastructures are fraught with unpredictable costs and heavy operational overhead. At the same time, many backup and disaster recovery solutions currently available on the market do not use the cloud in a strategic way. They do not leverage the cloud to truly cut the secondary data center infrastructure cost structure, nor do they introduce new capabilities and accelerate time-to-recovery.
First and foremost, a true “infrastructure-less” data protection strategy does not require any copy data to be stored on-premises. Rather than using the cloud as a mirror copy of the on-premises secondary storage implementation, data can be tiered off to the cloud so that it does not need to be stored on-premises. What’s more, the ability to tier data across various cloud services can be powerful in terms of truly minimizing the secondary storage cost structure. A small footprint of local, on-premises infrastructure may be deployed – but on an optional basis, for streaming recovery use cases. Cloud storage scales on-demand without the hassle and pressure of finding additional data center rack space, and of purchasing, deploying and managing additional on-premises infrastructure that will go underutilized for a period of time. It also removes the need for capacity planning, which is increasingly unpredictable and challenging. IT professionals should bear in mind the ability to store data in its native format, so that they can still access their data if they migrate to a different cloud provider.
Another advantage of working with a service provider for backups is that backups can typically get up and running more quickly. The need for specialized expertise, for example around storage and virtual machine provisioning, is at least minimized if not eliminated entirely. The ability for users to simply select the VMs they want to protect, and then to identify their backup target and desired retention policies, is important from this perspective.
Beyond using the cloud for storage, the cloud should also be used for compute capabilities as well. Cloud compute cycles can be spun up and paid for on-demand, helping to create a more predictable expense structure and in many instances accelerating time-to-recovery – provided that virtual machines can be quickly mounted (ideally instantly) and then streamed back on-premises from the cloud storage service.
For further insights regarding how to create an infrastructure-less backup strategy, access Storage Switzerland’s on demand webinar with Actifio. Viewers will receive Storage Switzerland’s latest eBook “How to Get Out of the Data Protection Business.”