The data centre has outlived its name. In the era of the cloud, there is no longer one clear, physical centre for the storage of critical company information. When it comes to robust data protection, the traditional on-premises hardware is just half the battle and, today, there is more data than ever before.
The rise in cloud apps, notebooks and mobile devices has put the word “exponential” at the front of any discussion about the volume of data enterprises are generating.
In many ways, a data centre is like a Tesla – highly advanced, but costly. Something you only need if you intend to utilise it extensively and, let’s be honest, show off a bit.
In data management, we are now in the era of the cloud. Many companies have migrated the majority of their computing into the cloud, while most modern start-ups begin in the cloud, scale-up in the cloud, and never leave it. Consider Salesforce.com, the original and largest SaaS provider, that still runs most of its workloads on AWS.
Those that continue investment in data centres understand the biggest cost of protecting data is the hardware. This has resulted in most vendors – even those with a robust on-premises hardware footprint – finding a way to offset this burden with a cloud backup solution. Why commit all those resources to buy and maintain expensive hardware when someone is making the scale of investment to do it for you?
Cloud backup as a service
There’s good reason for this, especially for data backup. When it comes to scalability, security, and capability, no other platform comes close. AWS is one of the most vetted cloud providers in the industry, providing the highest level of security available, combined with seamless, readily available and near-infinite scalability.
Beyond the inherent security of using such a trusted cloud provider, using an external service creates an important gap between critical backups and any potential attack on a physical server.
And, so, we circle back to our Tesla. It is fun to drive and certainly will generate a healthy amount of envy amongst your contemporaries. It is also, a completely excessive spend if all you’re looking to do is periodically get from point A to B. So, indeed, is building a cloud backup around a server rather than a service. What’s needed in the cloud era is Uber – backup as a service providing what you need, when you need it, with no costly and excessive overhead. Backup that leverages the on-demand, infinitely-scalable and highly-secure strengths of the cloud, with a fundamentally user-friendly interface.
This is what you get when cloud backup takes an Uber approach. When protection is based on services, not servers, not only does it mean you only pay for what you use; it also means you can control where the data gets backed up to, and when.
No excuse not to backup
Much like Uber, it’s incredibly easy to get started. A lot of people wonder how they can feasibly backup and restore their data centre to and from the cloud, given how much data is in the data centre. The challenge with cloud-based data protection is a single data centre with a large amount of data – a data centre with 1PB of data and a 1 GB network connection would take two weeks or more to get its first backup to the cloud. However, it is exactly these large sets of data that are most critical to secure.
The reality is, using tools like AWS Snowball Edge, PBs of data can be uploaded painlessly in a matter of days, often at no additional cost. No matter how large your data set, there really is no good excuse not to back it up – and begin now.
Keeping pressure off company bandwith
Once your cloud backup is established, keeping it current doesn’t need to eat your company bandwidth. Typical backup software sends full backups and full-file incremental backups to a backup appliance that then duplicates them. This uses more bandwidth and more resources than a well-written source deduplication system, where data is de-duplicated before it is ever sent across the network. Instead of full backups, a source deduplication system sends only the new, unique blocks each time a backup runs. These efficiencies make the difference between automated backups measured in seconds, versus minutes and hours.
And, like almost any app-based service (yes, like Uber), rapid updates go both ways. With cloud-native SaaS tools, you get new capabilities, enhanced features, and bug fixes quicker without ever having to click “update”. In practical terms, that means quick, automatic, pinpointed improvements that don’t impact the rest of your IT infrastructure.
Instead of waiting for software to be released (posted or distributed, downloaded, and installed a few times a year), cloud-native SaaS simply starts working better – with no IT overhead or necessary downtime.
Personal transportation choices aside, only a service-based solution for backup can fully realise the resource-efficient, scalable, secure, easy-to-use and seamlessly-updated potential of using the cloud for backup.