Many experts concur that 2015 will be the year where we will see a major increase in the use of cloud storage. Especially as a medium for data archiving and (as manner of) backup. A number of factors are aligning to allow this technology to reach maturity. This provides interesting opportunities for IT resellers and service providers. But how does one start with a Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) offering?
An important first step is to investigate the frequency with which we need to recover or access files from a backup. Backing up and archiving data is, and always be, an important part of a company’s disaster recovery strategy. But it is not the only piece of the puzzle. Think about the different data that is in your, or your customer’s, network and how quickly you need to retrieve it in case of an emergency. Or how far you need to be able to dig into the past for legal compliancy.
Many companies do not consciously divide cold and hot data. Gathering basic information on what is being stored on your network can help you get a storage usage landscape. Therefore, making this landscape of cold and hot data more visible might help you save storage space. Finally a smart investment in a data archiving design may result sometimes in even more cost savings.
What are these cold and hot data and how do we identify the differences between them? In a nutshell, cold data is inactive data that an organization needs to retain but rarely, if ever, expects to access. Hot data is the data that an organization uses most frequently. It is often business-critical information that needs to be accessed quickly and is often used by a company for quick decision making. Typically hot data resides on fast storage whereas for cold data, lowering the bill is more of an issue than performance.
Cold data is usually the most ideal candidate for archiving. Traditionally, one of the most common scenarios is storing cold data on a tape drive (aka off-site data protection or vaulting). Data can also be transferred electronically via electronic vaulting (e-vaulting) to a remote location or to a cloud provider. Sending data to a cloud provider is a relatively new and, for many, still unfamiliar concept. On the other hand, traditional branch offices nowadays are often struggling with their storage and looking for the next generation of data archiving possibilities. Their need to retain data governance while lessening the burden of data storage make them suitable candidates of a managed backup solutions with an extension to cloud storage.
The managed backup solution is a trending subject which we have been seeing for some time. Many cloud providers benefit from this growing need by selling an out-of-the-box Backup-as-a-Service solution, which may require an expensive investment. On the other hand, building your own Backup-as-a-Service solution can be quite affordable. Some of the big players are already making their mark in the field and new ones are appearing on the horizon. The concept of a managed cloud backup service (BaaS) is quite simple. Combine your on premise backup solution with a service provider’s cloud storage, like Microsoft Azure of IBM Softlayer. As simple as this sounds, my advice is to start with a solid assessment. Determining your needs and those of your customers will help you build an the right Backup as a Service solution. What’s next? The next step can be the start of you designing the first building blocks of your Backup-as-a-Service solution.
In a next post, I will be covering the possible designs for a Backup-as-a-Service solution.
Author: Franklyn Cecilia, Technical Consultant at Ingram Micro Cloud