Data backup and recovery solutions are moving from traditional tape and more hardware dependent infusions to cloud based solutions that tender agencies a far more agile means of recovering critical business data in the event of any disruption.
Although, everything seems to be in support of cloud, moving data to a platform accessible via web interface still happens to be filled with big concerns. Especially, government agencies charged with responsibility of data privacy and protection, must feel confident that cloud based DR solutions will add efficiency and more reliability to their storage and retrieval skills.
At this point, a hybrid approach is also creeping into the environment as an apt solution, where some data is maintained on-site and other data is being moved to the cloud.
Therefore, while evaluating a cloud backup and recovery platform, it’s wise to first think on a company’s IT perspective.
- Better to know whether the company had instances recently in which data was not recoverable quickly enough and caused service issues to agency customers?
- Find out whether you are anticipating a new set of compliance related regulations that will inevitably require more backup and timelier access in case of a disruptive event.
- Are you setting new IT goals for data recovery and restore such as a more effective response to any disruption and the ability to get the data on time from the cloud at the speed that meets your performance standards?
- It is evident that most companies moving to cloud are in a thought of saving some operational and capital costs. That being said, IT managers need to make sure adding, or further integrating cloud recovery, works within their budget parameters and helps fulfill performance goals.
When all the above said questions are answered, then consider the following factors while moving to an advanced cloud based recovery solution-
Cloud Cost Analysis- With the technology of cloud backup and recovery getting a lot of importance, budget decisions often influence the decision to move critical data. Hence, before pursuing integrated cloud recovery, determine what technology fits the budget. Pricing considerations should include the backup and recovery of files, databases, server images for both physical and virtual servers with no limitation on the number of servers and endpoints, auditing and 24 x 7 U.S. based engineer-level support. And when talking about operational expenditure, scalability related to pricing should be considered.
Desired backup speed- As datasets continue to increase in size, the solution which a user is opting for must have the potential to serve the backup at a required speed. Speed is important to meet the backup windows and to recover data quickly. Therefore, opt for a solution which ensures systems and applications are backed up within a specified window and that too with minimal disruption.
Transitioning from hardware focused approach- According to IDC, the cost of downtime on an average is $100,000 per hour. The research firm also confirms that organizations experience 10 to 20 hours of unplanned downtime every year and that too not due to a natural disaster like floods, fire, tsunami or earthquake.
It’s a known fact that legacy backup and recovery systems relied on tape media and hardware, which is neither cost effective nor able to efficiently withstand the data deluge that exists in agencies today. These systems are also ill-equipped to provide prompt recovery from natural disasters such as hurricanes, to unplanned downtime as the result of system failure. The hardware approach is costly because an enterprise may have to wait days for an appliance replacement.
Moving to direct-to-cloud approach eliminates the need to wait for a hardware appliance and accelerates data recovery. This enables an agency to recover data — in the cloud via web without having to wait for an appliance replacement when a disaster event occurs.
This is where some smart backup and recovery vendors are tapping up the market with intelligent solutions. StoneFly Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of DNF Corporation offers cloud based backup and recovery solutions like Cloud Backup Connect which directly backups data into cloud. StoneFly Cloud Backup Connect empowers organizations to fully utilize their existing backup software or existing backup appliance’s disaster recovery features, enabling organizations large and small to implement offsite backup inexpensively. Apart from cloud based backup and recovery, StoneFly also offers disc based backup hardware appliances in its product portfolio, unlike tape driven legacy hardware.
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Setting Recovery Time Objective- When developing a cloud-based backup and recovery platform, consider how long your enterprise can go without having access to data. Setting a recovery time objective provides the parameters IT managers need to work with in providing backup and restore. This can be as long as a day or as short as an hour or even 15 minutes in some cases.
Providing an efficient user experience- Any technology when used must provide a user a pleasant experience. The same applies to an appliance free, cloud based recovery solution which needs to be manageable from any business location. Managers should be able to log in via the web and commence a restore. More advanced solutions enable downloading files without recovering an entire server image first. However, ease of use is only one standard in evaluating cloud recovery options. There should also be the expectation of 24 x 7 technical supports, and that too with a live person.
Hope, the above said five issues- cost factors, desired backup speed, the advantages of eliminating hardware appliances, setting recovery time objectives and user flexibility in recovering files act as a good beginning in evaluating a move to a direct cloud based backup platform.