Why Leading IT Organizations Choose Cloud Backup

Cloud backup helps enterprises keep valuable information and data sets safe and organized across the entire organization. Explore the advantages of incorporating cloud backup into your backup infrastructure.

In IT, what do we know about the direction we’re heading?

First, we know that organizations rely on cloud for operational agility, efficiency, resilience, and value. According to a recent Gartner report, by 2025, 85% of organizations will be cloud first.

Second, we know that the days of relying on a single cloud are going away. A recent IBM survey tells us that 97% of businesses worldwide rely on more than one cloud.

We also know that not everything we do lives and works in the cloud. As Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky has explained, we have, for various reasons, many on-premises applications and data sets that aren’t in the cloud and might not ever be in the cloud.

Or, in other words, our infrastructure is a mix of multiple clouds and many on-premises platforms, and it will be for some time. We’re living in a world of hybrid infrastructure.

So, if this is the world we’re living in—a world that’s cloud first and multicloud but intersects and integrates with on-premises services and data sets—what’s the right approach to backup?

It’s a fair question. After all, if your organization has been in operation for more than a few years, you almost inevitably rely on on-premises backup to disk or tape. You also know that dozens of cloud backup vendors want to shift you to cloud backup. Often, advocates of either approach talk about the advantages of one and the disadvantages of another because they’re selling something. The waters are muddy, and the possibilities are confusing.

However, there is a simple answer.

Working with leading companies, from startup to Fortune 500, Seagate has learned that the best organizations combine cloud and on-premises backup technologies to ensure their environments, data sets, applications, and users are kept safe and secure—protected from data loss, downtime, and disaster. Combining these backup technologies is the right way forward for today’s organizations.

Exploring the Problem

So why hasn’t this approach been universally adopted? After all, many organizations have an existing backup policy but don’t have a clear directive regarding cloud-based backup. That’s largely because it’s hard, in the fog of hype and confusion, to see the value of backup. IT leaders, to be frank, don’t spend a lot of time on backup because, in part, backups can often be a nuisance. While backups are necessary, some implementations add costs and complexity to IT operations. Backups offer no direct business value for months or years, until there’s a failure. Few organizations want to invest in backups when there are dozens of other IT priorities competing for resources.

However, the reality is that most backup platforms aren’t keeping up with today’s demands. Data sets are growing exponentially, and on-premises solutions are already reaching their limits. Data is being spread across disparate infrastructures (on-premises, cloud, end-user devices), and it’s becoming harder and harder to ensure successful backups with traditional approaches—many of which require different backup tools for different environments. A survey of 4,000 professionals tells us that 37% of backup jobs fail and 34% of restores fail.2 That’s a staggering number that can’t be tolerated.

How can organizations cope? Building bigger and better on-premises backup infrastructure might not be the best answer in this case. Expanding on-premises backup to handle hundreds or thousands of terabytes isn’t efficient or effective. Even if resources exist in-house to expand on-premises backup platforms, organizations must decide whether it makes sense to divert those resources from something that directly contributes to the bottom line.

Choosing a Hybrid Approach

On the face of it, an immediate assumption is that the addition of cloud-based backups to existing backup paradigms a) comes with additional costs, b) could require unavailable skill sets, and c) may add complexity to an already complicated IT environment without adding value.

But the reality is very different. Companies need to re-examine their current data backup policies and understand that cloud-based backup is an efficient, effective approach to augmenting and extending existing backups. Just as we’ve all chosen hybrid infrastructures, backup technologies must be hybrid as well.

Let’s explore the advantages of incorporating cloud backup into what you’re doing.

Imagine for a moment that your backup infrastructure is a typical on-premises infrastructure. You’re maintaining your backups according to the 3-2-1 rule (three data set copies, two types of media, one offsite copy). You have primary data sets on disk, you create two secondary copies on secondary disk, and then you dump those copies to tape, keep one set of tapes onsite, and send another set to a repository for offsite archive. And maybe you’re doing this work at many sites, for many different applications.

Now imagine how cloud backup can fit into this backup strategy.

  1. It can store secondary data sets remotely.
  2. It can serve as another media type.
  3. It can provide another location for primary backup or archive.
  4. It can serve as a consolidation site for many distributed backups.

Can you see how cloud backup augments on-premises backup? Your primary backups will still go to local disk for the fastest possible restores, but other applications that don’t require the fastest restores can start going to cloud backup. You could also reduce your reliance on expensive on-premises disk or tape. The versatility of cloud backup gives you important advantages for managing data growth, tailoring service-level agreements (SLAs), and even providing an alternate, online source of data in case your primary location is taken offline by a disaster.

Incorporating cloud backup also provides another critical advantage. In a world of cyberattacks and ransomware, organizations discover, to their dismay, that their data sets have been stolen or deleted. Other organizations have their entire infrastructures locked down until a large payment in Bitcoin is sent to a mysterious wallet in an unknown country. Having immutable copies of your data on a completely different cloud backup platform gives your organization an added tool for recovery that, compared to tape, is much more accessible and also requires less manual intervention.

Choosing the Right Backup Cloud

We’ve made a strong case for adding a cloud-based solution. But which cloud? To be honest, not all clouds are created equal, not all clouds are cost effective for backup, and not all clouds work well with your backup software.

Let’s assume that you’re interested in a cloud that’s supposed to be suitable for backup—not a traditional primary cloud storage service. For example, one leading cloud provider offers an S3 storage service that is typically used to satisfy long retention requirements for data that isn’t frequently accessed. Initial costs appear low, but ongoing expenses tend to spiral out of control due to a complicated fee structure that includes egress fees, application programming interface (API) fees, and capacity and performance fees that reduce cost predictability and efficiency. To make matters worse, sometimes the provider’s S3 services have long restore times, causing you to miss your recovery point objective (RPO).

So perhaps you want a cloud storage alternative that sidesteps some of these complexities. However, S3 is a widely used API for backup and is supported by many backup software vendors. Choosing a cloud storage-as-a-service solution for backup and restore that’s S3-compatible is a good start. That compatibility allows seamless integration into existing backup strategies and policies because your storage will be widely supported by leading backup software vendors.

In addition, look for:

  • Pricing simplicity - No charges for API calls or egress fees; simple, predictable pricing for any backup.
  • Limitless scalability - Extend your long-term backups and archives to petabyte scale with a pay-as-you-grow model that sidesteps the expenses of on-premises backup expansion.
  • World-class protection and security - Encryption, defenses against ransomware, and object immutability give you added comfort as you keep your organization safe.
  • Easy centralization - Always-on, multi-regional availability gives you a single location for all your backups and archives.
  • Predictable performance - No “up to 12 hours” RPO limitation; define recovery SLAs as you see fit.
  • Streamlined migration - With no egress fees, migrating data in and out is more cost effective. Migration as a service should be available for organizations that need it.
  • Immediate access - Data trapped across disparate platforms or on physical media isn’t available for analysis. Businesses who can centralize their backups and use that data for operational insight have an edge.

With Seagate® Lyve Cloud, your organization has a new way to make backup better. Seagate offers a compelling S3 alternative with proven advantages others can’t match. To learn more, visit us at www.seagate.com/solutions/cloud/cloud-backup.