Friday 22 November 2013

Questions to ask about Cloud and Backup

Local Backup To Cloud

Okay, let's say our on-premises servers are being backed up to a local NAS or storage server.

From there they are copied up to an online Cloud backup service as the default off-site backup location. Assume at least a 10Mbit upload speed to allow for the initial image upload or a seed done via courier to the backup service provider.

Now, the on-site servers fail. The cluster or standalone host is hosed.

Then, it turns out that the backup destination NAS/storage server was also hosed.

What then?

Well, we have our off-site now don't we?

Yeah, we do ... sorta.

Even at 1Gbit/Second how long would it take to download the full backup image and its incremental images? If image consolidation was ongoing, okay fine, how long to bring down that full image and possibly the extra few incremental backups?

One would imagine that if a business is not able to tolerate at least two to three days of downtime just for the restoration process, never mind replacement hardware procurement, then one really needs to evaluate another tier of local storage for an off-site rotation.

Cloud Services and Storage

Well now, how about the Cloud service vendor's services?

An SLA is only as good as the bond paper it is printed on right? Or, at least as good as the vendor making the promise that our data will never disappear.

Oh really?

What about the mailboxes on GMail that seemingly disappeared? Did they ever get fully recovered?

What about that Cloud based ERP and accounting solution? What do they do to protect the multi-million dollar company's Solution in the event of an internal failure at the Cloud vendor's site?

Thus, that begs the question: Does the Cloud service provider facilitate the ability to back up the Cloud based data set to our own premises? If not, it may be in the company's best interest to look for other Cloud vendors that do provide a facility to back up the company's data to on-premises.

We have all seen failures of all sorts at all levels of IT Solution sets.

Given the scale of Cloud computing and its relative newness it is only a matter of time before we see catastrophic failures at the Cloud service vendor level.

When that happens what will become of the business that now depends on that Cloud service provider to restore the service _and_ data back to the way things were but that does not happen?

Please remember that when it comes to technology we are not talking about an "if it happens" we are talking about a "when it happens".

Being prepared whether the service is on-premises or in the Cloud is key to business survival in today's hybrid environments.

Philip Elder
Microsoft MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
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Matt said...

The attitude we take is that while cloud backup is a valuable option, it should be sold alongside a traditional on-site backup of some description. Relying solely on cloud backup is not a realistic option at present.

Unknown said...

Philip. you are right as always. I suppose because I am older I tend to be more pessimistic. But first problem i find with online server backup is speed. most broadband only has 1mb upload so it's not possible.