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Cloud backup services can be used to capture and store backup copies to replace a disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) approach while automatically storing backup sets off-site.

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The same services can often be used to store replicated instances of production workloads for cloud-based DR (see “Integrating with cloud DR services,” below).

For backup and recovery functions, there’s a spectrum of cloud integration approaches available (see “Cloud backup integration models, below”). One tactic that actually eliminates on-site backup infrastructure is backup software as a service (SaaS), which involves running the backup application and storing backup copies in the cloud. Another infrastructure elimination approach is to outsource IT services to a managed service provider (MSP), allowing the MSP to host production applications and manage IT infrastructure, including backup and recovery operations. There are also multiple ways to integrate on-premises backup functions with the cloud via a disk-to-disk-to-cloud (D2D2C) approach: leveraging a public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS), creating a virtual private cloud in a public cloud environment or developing a private cloud infrastructure.

Cloud integration approaches

 

Leveraging a public cloud infrastructure

A D2D2C approach with a public cloud infrastructure involves using an on-premises backup application that directly or indirectly integrates with IaaS vendors, such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Nirvanix, Rackspace and others, via the IaaS vendor’s published API. The APIs often support representational state transfer (REST) running over HTTP. Backup vendors that support the APIs directly write natively into a cloud service. Vendors such as Actifio, AppAssure (acquired by Dell), Arkeia, CA, CommVault, Druva, Symantec (NetBackup and Backup Exec) and Zmanda have done the heavy lifting to integrate their backup apps so they can communicate with other vendors’ cloud-based services. This eliminates the need for IT organizations to do complex scripting or employ cloud gateway appliances to integrate with the cloud services. However, users may need to purchase an add-on “cloud connector” or update media agents to the latest service pack to be compatible with a cloud storage provider’s infrastructure.

This was first published in April 2012

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