Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Maria C. Horton, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Cloud Replication Is Not Backup, But Backup Is!

Backup requires management of multiple historic copies of a data set. Clearly, cloud storage in itself isn't backup

Early Bird Registration at Cloud Expo

Go read that headline again: W. Curtis "Mr. Backup" Preston points out on his blog that replication is not backup, and we can't disagree.

Keeping alternative copies of data in multiple locations is a great idea, reducing the risk of data loss and potentially enabling enhanced access, but it's not a historical data protection (aka, backup) strategy.

Backup requires management of multiple historic copies of a data set. Clearly, cloud storage in itself isn't backup.

Backup vs. Storage

SNIA defines "backup" thus:
  1. [Data Recovery] A collection of data stored on (usually removable) non-volatile storage media for purposes of recovery in case the original copy of data is lost or becomes inaccessible; also called a backup copy.
    To be useful for recovery, a backup must be made by copying the source data image when it is in a consistent state.
  2. [Data Recovery] The act of creating a backup. See archive.

Backup has always been a challenge for corporate IT. It's not "in the critical path", affecting the daily activities of business users and customers, so it usually gets short-shrift when it comes to financial and organizational support. Yet the ability to restore data quickly becomes job one for IT when it is lost or corrupted. I think Preston spells it out wonderfully in the first chapter of his seminal book, UNIX Backup and Recovery. Systems always fail, data is always lost, and having a good backup is the surest way to recover.

Storage industry folks have been suggesting that new technologies eliminate "traditional backups" ever since there has been an industry to speak of. Some of these technologies (RAID, replication, high availability, hash-based integrity checks) are great innovations in keeping online data alive, but they fall flat when it comes to data corruption. Others (mirroring, snapshots, versioning, CAS, CDP) are great at retaining multiple copies of data, but even these aren't true backup solutions. Good backup is much more than mere data protection: Backup must manage data, not just protect it. No basic storage technology will eliminate a real backup solution.

Skim through Preston's book (the index is online at Amazon!) and you'll see that merely creating and holding a copy of a given data set is just a small part of a real backup solution. These copies must be tracked, managed, and expired. Operating systems and applications must be integrated into the solution. Bare-metal recovery, disasters, and compliance must be considered. Storage folks ignore these hard-learned lessons at their peril, and any storage vendor who says backup is dead is revealing their ignorance or naïveté!

Cloud Storage For Data Protection
Although storage technology will never be a full answer to the data protection quandary, it has a lot to offer when it comes to assisting backup solutions. Disk technology has literally transformed the backup world in the last decade in the form of replication, snapshots, CDP, virtual tape libraries, and deduplication. These technologies give powerful new capabilities to the existing backup frameworks, overcoming the dismally-limited tape cartridge approach of the olden days. A state-of-the-art backup solution now relies much more on disk-based storage systems than tape or optical capacity, and many use disks exclusively.

Cloud storage presents new opportunities to enable more effective and efficient backup solutions. Most cloud storage platforms can be very highly utilized, reducing system cost, and can be flexibly and non-disruptively expanded as capacity needs grow. But some cloud storage systems go way beyond this:

  • One of the hallmarks of public cloud solutions is their physical distance from the systems that use them, decreasing the likelihood of data loss from a local disaster. Backing up to a site hundreds or thousands of miles away has long been a dream of IT, and cloud storage makes this possible and even cost-effective!
  • A few cloud storage platforms offer integrated policy-based replication of data (ahem, Nirvanix), and this additional geographic distribution further reduces the risk of data loss in a disaster. It can also aid in recovery, since data can be available locally at remote locations!
  • Like all disk-based backup targets, cloud storage is online and accessible, making restore operations quicker and easier. There is no need to wait for tapes to be recalled, delivered, located, and loaded when data is on random-access disk! But unlike local disk, public cloud storage can be accessible remotely as well, bringing this ease to distributed businesses and disaster recovery operations.
  • Cloud storage systems can embed metadata with stored content, further accelerating restore operations for systems that can use it since indexes no longer have to be rebuilt. This also enables new archiving and content management features, elevating backup to serve a primary business need.
  • One of the hallmarks of cloud storage platforms is their API-based programmability. Backup and archive management companies are discovering the ease and power of integrating programmable cloud storage right into their applications: Watch this space for announcements!
  • Further storage smarts are being embedded into cloud systems, too. We have seen deduplication and compression (check out Nirvanix partner, Ocarina!), data protection (Partners, Tarmin and Atempo), media transcoding, indexing, content distribution, and more.

Backup Is Backup
Simply adding basic data protection techniques like snapshots or replication to a storage system doesn't make it a backup solution. Storage isn't backup, but backup is! Backup systems can leverage storage capabilities, but a backup management solution will always be required to get complete data protection.

Clearly, cloud storage isn't a backup solution. But as this unique combination of capabilities demonstrate, it's much more than simple storage capacity. Like so many storage technologies before it, cloud storage is an enabler for advanced backup solutions.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett has provided vendor-independent end user consulting on storage topics for over 10 years. He has been a storage columnist and has authored numerous articles for industry publications. Stephen is a popular presenter at industry events and recently received Microsoft’s MVP award for contributions to the enterprise storage community. As the director of consulting for Nirvanix, Foskett provides strategic consulting to assist Fortune 500 companies in developing strategies for service-based tiered and cloud storage. He holds a bachelor of science in Society/Technology Studies, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.