A new chapter in Oracle data protection

Today, Druva announced a new Oracle data protection capability called direct-to-cloud that expands our ability to help customers protect their hybrid cloud environments. This step forward is consistent with our vision to help customers reduce the cost and complexity of Oracle data protection and accelerate their journey to the cloud. This new capability offers the industry’s only Oracle Recovery Manager (RMAN)-based direct-to-cloud backup of Oracle databases with deduplication, encryption, and integrated long-term retention. This means that any IT or backup team can confidently protect and recover Oracle databases, both on-premises and in the cloud, without additional infrastructure. Let me explain why this is a huge step forward for both hybrid and cloud data protection.

Data protection challenges in hybrid cloud environments 

If you define hybrid cloud environments as applications and data both on-premises and in the cloud, then nearly every organization utilizes this model. Almost every organization uses some type of SaaS service (i.e., Box, Google, SalesForce, Microsoft 365), and many are starting to use or already using AWS (or Azure or Google) to power parts of their business. But just as organizations protect applications and data in the data center, the same protection is required for the cloud. Unfortunately, traditional backup, whether software or a hyper-converged appliance, doesn’t offer the same efficiencies when moved into the cloud as they were built for data center environments where CPU, storage, and network resources are free at all times. 

So, if you lift-and-shift Oracle to EC2 in AWS, you have a few choices: 

  1. Deploy another instance of your backup software in the cloud, such as a virtual appliance
  2. Back up data from the cloud to your data center (not likely)
  3. Back up data natively in the cloud with scripts (e.g., storage snapshots or RMAN to a DIY NFS target)
  4. Back up data natively in the cloud with a cloud data protection solution

 In short, Oracle data protection needs to follow applications, but the shift to the cloud poses challenges to organizations for several reasons:

  1. Process – Most organizations shift Oracle databases (and other applications) to the cloud in phases – meaning they maintain some applications on-premises and some in the cloud with the goal of gradual expansion to flexibly meet the requirements of critical and less time-sensitive applications alike.
  2. Complexity – Moving data protection to the cloud adds another management console, often unpredictable costs, and may not offer the same level of features or control that DBAs had on-premises.
  3. Cost – Traditional data protection deployed in the cloud is expensive for multiple reasons. First, customers need to run their backup application and infrastructure in the cloud. If using hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), where the minimum brick is a 4-node cluster, moving that system, even if it’s a virtual appliance, will be expensive because it needs to run 24/7 in the cloud, regardless of how much data it processes. Second, storage efficiency between on-premises and cloud is typically poor because one has two separate deduplication silos due to the fact that metadata doesn’t usually span on-premises and cloud. One HCI vendor approach has been to place all storage metadata on-premises, even if the data blocks live in a cloud storage system. The elephant in the room here is the cost of on-demand scale. A cloud-based deduplication system, especially one run in a public cloud, can offer on-demand scale, more efficiently and at a lower cost. By contrast, the benefits of scale-out architecture that demand every new brick be 2 or 4 nodes, regardless of how much data flows through it, quickly diminish in the cloud.
  4. Long-term retention – Using the cloud for long-term retention of Oracle backups (or most other backups) that need to keep for 3-10 years makes sense. One does not need to manage hardware and receives the benefits of great durability. One can simply move a copy of the backup data to cold storage, in a process I call “cloud out.” Unfortunately, this approach creates another silo of inefficient storage as there is no deduplication in this tier and most likely offers limited ability to search that data unless one also monitors the metadata.
  5. Security – If storing business-critical Oracle backups in the cloud, it’s best practice to ensure both the backup data and access to that data is secure. Pushing that data to an AWS S3 storage bucket may be far from a complete or secure solution. A complete security model needs to ensure secure transmission, encrypted storage, read/write access, and authorized users or applications.

Druva and Oracle RMAN: an ideal solution

The RMAN-based Oracle direct-to-cloud solution that we announced today breaks through all of these challenges and is especially powerful because it requires no additional infrastructure for data protection. It provides backup and IT teams with an easier way to meet Oracle backup SLAs by automatically discovering databases, simplifying recovery, and eliminating the need to manage infrastructure.

Under the hood, Druva uses Oracle RMAN to create backup sets, deduplicates these at the source (to reduce bandwidth), and stores them in the Druva cloud. Long-term retention is a core capability of the Druva storage system and is available with this feature, meaning customers can not only tier older data to low cost cold storage, but deduplicate that data for further efficiency. Security is addressed because it is built directly into the Druva platform (zero-trust architecture) and storage system (encryption, immutable storage, and data isolation). The platform security architecture means only the application, as authorized by the customer, can access data. The benefits of the cloud data protection platform (security, storage management, on-demand scale) shine through with this new capability.

 This new Oracle backup capability is expected to be available in 1H2021 and will complement our existing NFS-based solution, which also enables organizations to protect Oracle databases on-premises and in the cloud (see image below). 

The direct-to-cloud method simply opens up another path for customers, whether migrating Oracle databases to the cloud or building new ones. After all, not every migration or cloud-based Oracle workload requires the same level of protection. But an RMAN-integrated backup approach that scales on demand and requires no infrastructure is clearly an express lane to migrating and protecting new Oracle workloads. 

We are confident Druva’s Oracle protection capabilities will meet and exceed your business’s needs, because we have already heard such from many of our existing customers. Looking to learn more? Visit the Oracle Solutions page for access to a variety of resources, or reach out to us directly for a deeper conversation.