Business software is used today in all areas of business and industry. This causes a high dependence on companies on their IT systems and their operational data. From the CIO's point of view, the challenges associated with data management also increased. The Cloud offers a solution to meet new demands on the efficient backup process.
The backup with standard and recurring activities is one of the IT services that promises great potential for savings. As such, tasks related to data protection do not add value and rob high-paid IT specialists from their valuable time.
In addition, the backup system consumes valuable data center space and incurs additional costs such as cooling and energy requirements. So it's time to rethink the existing status quo and enter the cloud into the data center.
If the data is fully or partially outsourced to the cloud, this saves investment costs for additional storage capacity in the backup environment. In addition, cloud storage is very flexible and can be ordered as needed. Also, the start is very easy, because when using cloud services only a strong Internet connection is needed. Concrete bandwidth requirements are generated from the volume of data to be sent and the time window available for data transmission.
Using cloud also increases disaster security. If cloud is used as non-backup storage in your own data center, backup data that is backed up can be quickly restored after fire or water damage. Therefore, the problem of backup and disaster recovery (DR) must always be considered together, because there are many solutions now that combine the two functions into one product.
Find the right provider
Businesses have very individual security requirements, data volumes, and backup times. In addition, IT managers want to secure their investments in backup software and storage systems regardless of cloud integration. In searching for suitable backup services from the cloud, it quickly became clear that there were many service providers for this, but offers were not really comparable.
This is partly because there are no comprehensive and comparable criteria that describe the scope of services. Right at this point, for example, the NetApp storage provider has made real ideas and offers "backup-as-service" with a kind of seal of approval. Accordingly, services provided exclusively by authorized service providers are subject to quality standards.
With fabric data in the cloud
Because restarting all IT in greenfield is not realistic, in practice new cloud resources will be integrated into existing backup infrastructure. This quickly leads to a hybrid cloud with isolated and incompatible data silos. In addition, the way cloud providers manage their customer data is significantly different. This makes it difficult for customers to get data from one cloud to another - or bring it back to their own data center.
As a result, organizations often find it difficult to optimally integrate their hybrid cloud into their IT strategies. Data then develops a kind of gravity: The so-called data gravity causes data to stick to existing infrastructure. Anyone who runs a backup environment at various locations and storage levels will certainly know the practical problems outlined.
Against this background, NetApp developed the concept of data fabrication. With technologies such as the ONTAP Data storage operating system, the company continues to maintain full data control when using public cloud. IT managers can freely move and manage their data transparently anytime regardless of storage location such as in a place, service provider or public cloud.
The resulting data virtualization makes it feasible and efficient to move data between cloud resources and service providers in both directions for the first time. For example, organizations don't need to commit to cloud providers, and they can freely use and combine resources from AWS, Azure, and SoftLayer, for example. Clustered Data ONTAP solutions also enable companies to provide customers with a homogeneous platform for managing data and workload at all levels of storage architecture, including integration of cloud resources.
Many roads lead to the clouds
If the company has used a storage manufacturer's storage system, there is no additional solution needed for cloud integration. In practice, one storage system is in its own data center and the other is an IT service provider that offers NetApp Backup-as-a-Service (Baas). The backup then functions as incremental forever, meaning that user data continues to be replicated from disk to disk or to cloud. Also, this approach does not require additional backup software.
If you don't use a manufacturer's storage system, you can use the NetApp AltaVault solution. Solutions for physical or virtual tools function as a kind of vacuum cleaner. The system recovers operational data for backup from any application, database or storage silo. This is then duplicated, encrypted and stored through the BaaS provider or colocation provider in any cloud resource. The function for this process provides an existing backup application, because AltaVault works with any backup software.
The interesting thing about these two approaches is that several copies of the latest data remain in the hands of customers in the field, either in the local file system or at AltaVault. This is very relevant in disaster recovery or other recovery cases, because data recovery is very fast, while many other cloud backup solutions require time-consuming recovery from the cloud.
Already running in training
The method described has been used in practice today. For example, one of the largest German industrial companies uses the fabric data concept to optimize backup processes in heterogeneous IT environments using cloud support. At the same time, IT can continue to utilize existing IBM Tivoli data management software. Overall, this improves data security, further automates the backup process, simplifies IT administration and, ultimately, reduces costs for IT operations.
When is the cloud valuable?
Where IT performance still produces significant value in its core business, on-premise will continue to be the first choice. However, services with high standards, such as collaboration, backup, and infrastructure, are increasingly being applied in the public cloud. The data center will therefore experience coexistence from different operator models and thus also further entry of cloud technology. CIOs must be ready for development, because they will increasingly act as orchestras of IT services provided by external service providers.