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What is the best way to backup your cloud workloads?

Level 3

iStock-137902486.jpgDo you remember your first steps in the public cloud? It probably started out as an experiment some time ago, but today I can imagine that it has grown into multiple mission-critical workloads.

But tell me, at the time of the trial, did you carefully read and negotiate your public cloud contract to meet your business requirements before signing? Or did the pages and pages of legalese terms lull you into hitting “Accept” too soon?

It is easy to hit "Accept." Cloud providers are keen to emphasize how redundant and fault-tolerant their clouds are. They take extraordinary measures that enable them to offer highly resilient, highly available, highly durable and highly secure cloud services from their state of the art data centers with economies of scale that are hard to beat. So, trusting your mission-critical workloads to them seems a no-brainer to many of us. 


Things still can break.

What my advice to you is not to assume that your workloads and data are protected simply because the cloud service has been designed to deliver 11 9's durability. It is not an SLA, nor does it guarantee uptime or access to your data. You still need to do your due diligence. Yes, the cloud provider will endeavor to recover access to your cloud services within the agreed availability SLA, but very often will not warrant data integrity or accept liability for data loss. Most make you responsible for taking your actions to maintain appropriate security, protection and backup of your data.

Here is an example that I copied from the service terms from one of the public cloud service providers out there:

"You are responsible for properly configuring and using the Service Offerings and taking your own steps to maintain appropriate security, protection and backup of Your Content, which may include the use of encryption technology to protect Your Content from unauthorized access and routine archiving Your Content."

Do you see what I mean?

Most cloud providers have a similar clause in their service terms.

Relying purely on your cloud provider for availability of your data may prove a huge disappointment and could lead to serious if not catastrophic consequences for your business.

So, what is the best way to protect your cloud-based workloads?

In the cloud, making native cloud snapshots is a commonly used and often the recommended method for backing up the virtual machines and its data.  But, is that the best way?

Sure, this method has its advantages, for example:

  1. You can quickly create a snapshot copy of your virtual machine without installing any agent.
  2. With incremental cloud snapshot, you speed up the "backup" process and reduce cloud storage consumption.
  3. And, you can use the cloud snapshot to quickly restore a virtual machine back to the point in time you took it.

However, you also need to weigh some of the disadvantages such as:

  1. Monthly storage cost can quickly rise when your snapshots are left unmanaged especially if you decide to keep thousands of cloud snapshots.
  2. Your cloud snapshots do not come with extensive metadata which makes retrieving individual files, databases, database tables from within a cloud snapshot often difficult, time-consuming and impractical.
  3. Recovering cloud snapshots to an alternative cloud platform or back to your data center is typically tough, if even at all possible.

Native cloud snapshots put you at the mercy of your public cloud provider because these are often proprietary "backups." If the cloud provider loses your data, goes bankrupt or otherwise causes you problems, retrieving your data and getting it set up elsewhere will be a painful process because your “backups” are useless when you move.

What can you do?

The good news is that you may already have the solution right in your data centers. If you are using a Veritas data protection solution already, then you can rely on this to protect your virtual machines in the cloud too.

The advantage of using a Veritas data protection solution is that:

  • It provides you with a single solution to backup both your on-premises and cloud infrastructure.
  • You can recover data granularly because all your backups are indexed.
  • The format of the backups stays the same and is portable whichever cloud platform you choose.
  • It is very easy to duplicate backups taken in one cloud to another platform, so you are never locked in.

Succeeding in the cloud is all about executing on an effective data management strategy with complete control. Veritas does not stop with the backup of your cloud workloads; we go further with cloud migration of your on-premises applications to multiple clouds or from cloud to cloud as well as disaster recovery solutions and guaranteed performance for your mission critical enterprise applications in the cloud.

Partnering with Veritas means your cloud on your terms.

I invite you to learn more here.

Please comment as I am keen to hear your views on the subject of backing up workloads in the public cloud.