Tech/Engineering

Checkers or chess? What’s your cloud backup game?

July 3, 2019
Julie Herd, Director, Solutions Marketing

How does your backup software really use the cloud? Does it take full advantage of the compute and storage power of the cloud? Let’s explore a couple of ways to fully leverage all the cloud has to offer for data protection. IT pros need to know if their vendor is playing checkers or chess with cloud resources.

The game of checkers is easy to learn because there is not a lot of strategy involved. Every piece has essentially the same capabilities. Chess, on the other hand, is rich in strategy with each piece having different roles and being capable of different moves. Data protection vendors’ use of the cloud is similar in nature. They can choose a very simplistic approach that barely scratches the surface of what cloud resources are capable of, or they can dive deep and use all the resources the cloud has to offer.

When Druva delivered its first cloud-native data protection solution almost a decade ago, we were almost by ourselves in claiming the cloud was the best place to not only store backups, but also to execute the data protection processes themselves. Today, almost every data protection vendor claims to support the cloud in some way, but most just use it as a backup repository. They don’t leverage cloud compute in any meaningful way and that means their customers are left with a poor impression of the cloud and it’s potential.

Reduce costs with multi-tier cloud storage
For years, cloud providers have had multiple options available to them to store data. Each tier has a different purpose. AWS has, for example, elastic block storage (EBS) for running production workloads, simple storage service (S3) for storing less active, less performance sensitive data, S3 Infrequently Accessed (S3-IA) for storing even less active data, and finally Glacier, for storing cold data where the odds of access are incredibly low. Each one of these tiers becomes less expensive on a per GB basis but each tier charges a high fee if the data is accessed. Intelligent data placement is required to make sure the right data is on the right tier at the right time.

The overwhelming majority of vendors that support cloud storage only support one tier, which means you are always paying more than you should for backup capacity. At Druva, we store data where it makes the most sense based on its potential to be recalled again. Leveraging multiple tiers allows us to reduce the cost of backup storage, which lowers your TCO for data protection.

Take advantage of cloud compute
Most backup solutions claiming cloud backup capabilities really only leverage cloud storage. A few leverage cloud compute to provide some form of disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) or to run their on-premises backup application in a cloud-hosted VM. Almost no vendor supports using cloud compute resources to natively drive their application, which means that they aren’t taking advantage of the cloud’s ability to scale up or down their compute consumption as needed.

At Druva, our cloud-native Druva Cloud Platform was designed to fully leverage not only cloud compute, but also cloud databases and storage from AWS. We use cloud compute not only to provide our customers DRaaS functionality but to also use it to drive backup operations. We have a scalable platform that enables us to provide more thorough global deduplication, richer metadata indexing and processing as well as robust data discovery capabilities to help organizations meet compliance demands.

Cloud-native disaster recovery
As I mentioned above, some vendors now leverage cloud compute so they can provide DRaaS functionality to their customers. The problem with cloud backup solution is when the customer wants to initiate a recovery of a virtual machine (VM), they have to wait for the VMs to be restored from the vendor’s backup format and storage. They also have to wait for that VM to be converted to run in the provider’s cloud. The whole process can take hours, destroying any hope of meeting an aggressive recovery time objective (RTO). At Druva, because we leverage cloud compute during the backup we can also leverage it to recover and run VMs in the cloud, dramatically reducing RTOs during a disaster.

Leveraging all the potential of the cloud is critical to maximize the return on investment on a cloud-based data protection solution, and I’ve only scratched the surface here. If you are looking to simplify data protection, reduce costs and improve your ability to respond to a disaster by using the cloud then you need to look for a vendor that is doing more than getting a piece across the board like in checkers. Instead, look for a vendor that strategically leverages cloud resources to not only deliver that simplification and improve recovery capabilities, but that also allows you to tap into backup data as the rich resource that it is.

Want to harness the power of the cloud? Check out our ebook, “The Definitive Guide to Enterprise Data Backup and Recovery Architectures”, or contact us for a demo!