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Getting the sophistication of a backup app and the simplicity and scalability of cloud storage is possible today. But there are still some kinks to work out.
Are you still backing up to boring old tape, disk or even deduped disk? What about using a backup device that has unlimited capacity and doesn't need to be managed? That's what cloud backup promises -- but can it possibly be that easy?
There are a lot of products and services being bandied about with the term cloud attached to them. Everybody wants to be on the cloud bandwagon, and it seems like everybody has an opinion about what the cloud is or isn't. In the absence of any clearly defined standards, we'll provide a definition for the purposes of our discussion.
The cloud, specifically the public cloud, is storage (or backup) that you don't have to manage. It has unlimited on-demand capacity and infinite burst capabilities, all for a price at or below what it would cost to do it yourself. If you want to pay for 100 TB this month and then pay for only 5 TB for the next year, you can do that with the cloud. You can't approach that kind of flexibility if you buy a storage system because you've paid for it whether you use it or not.
There's also the private cloud, where most of the marketing hyperbole is happening. For our purposes, we'll focus on the public cloud.
This was first published in October 2010