If you've got a backup and disaster recovery system (BDR), you're likely facing some challenges with it. Maybe it's speed. Maybe it's security. Maybe your system isn't growing along with your organization. If you've looked into solving these challenges, you've probably considered cloud backup to protect your data, servers and applications.
Teams that are accustomed to handling other workloads in the cloud, virtualizing their BDR may seem like a no-brainer. The appeal of backing up to the cloud is obvious, with benefits like scalability, easier testing and even cost savings.
However, CIOs and IT managers question whether moving your BDR to the cloud really delivers the same benefits. Yes … sometimes. If you're contemplating a new cloud solution, keep these four factors in mind.
1. How Long are You Willing to be Down?
In the era of 24/7 uptime, even twenty minutes of downtime can outrage customers. When physical backups can't be retrieved quickly, the ensuing delay can make IT leaders look to the cloud. Complex failover processes can also hinder recovery. If your uptime depends on the availability of trained staff or a shipment of backup tapes, your mission-critical systems won't be available when needed.
A major value proposition for moving to the cloud should be the capability to boot up a clone of your environment in minutes. This eliminates the need to ship or retrieve physical backups. Some cloud solutions also feature simple failover processes, allowing your team to recover instantly instead of reading complicated instructions as crucial minutes tick away.
2. Is Cloud-Only BDR the Right Strategy?
Not always. Relying solely on cloud backup could lead to delayed recovery. While cloud solutions can accelerate recovery, they can also hinder it in some situations. Before making the jump to a cloud-only solution, you'll want to consider these possible delays:
■ Network speeds: Applications that rely on 100MB, 1GB, or more for connectivity will be challenged to match this to and from a cloud backup provider.
■ Network connectivity: You'll need to provide a path for external users, customers and production sites to your cloud backup provider, bridging the IP gap between what was once your LAN and now is a site in another data center.
■ Single server failure dependency: When you put your backups entirely in the cloud, failing over a single or small subset of servers to the cloud can break dependencies. Imagine running a small cluster with two out of three servers on the same LAN with 1GB+ speeds and the third member of the cluster sitting on a remote WAN link getting fair less access speeds.
3. How Does Bandwidth Affect Cloud BDR and Retrieval Speed?
While getting your data into the cloud is easy, retrieving it could be more complicated. Cloud backups are usually easy to create – just identify the servers and data to replicate, begin the sync, and off you go. However, keep in mind what you'll be able to recover and what it could cost you in terms of ingress/egress charges for data transfer.
While any modern LAN-based backup technology will perform file level restores at 1GB, cloud-based file level restores will rely on your Internet connection and your provider's bandwidth. If you have a 1TB volume to restore, this is how long it could take:
■ On-premise backup solution using 1GB LAN connection: approximately 18 minutes
■ Cloud backup solution using 10MB connection: approximately 32 hours
That's a big difference – and it will feel bigger if you're dealing with a Ransomware attack or other disaster.
4. What's the Real ROI with Cloud BDR?
When teams evaluate BDR solutions, they tend to calculate the savings realized by eliminating downtime. Automated testing and other features can improve operational efficiency, and backup encryption and improved security can reduce risk. Yet too often teams don't get the full pricing picture when it comes to software-only BDR solutions.
Remember to factor in costs for external appliances, firewalls, switches and other network hardware critical to your BDR ecosystem. Your production environment will have BDR needs that go beyond the demo the vendor showed you. If you don't account for those requirements and costs up front, your CFO could be displeased by the hidden costs that surface in the months following your initial cloud deployment. Demand transparent and predictable DR pricing.
Cloud BDR can offer speed and security when used in conjunction with other tools, such as a hybrid cloud solution. Keep the above four questions in mind and you'll be more likely to get executive buy-in and keep your critical resources protected.
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