Strategizing backups for the cloud era

By David Leathers | | Archive & DR

Each year businesses around the globe generate data at an exponential rate. Much of that data requires keeping a second or third copy using a backup application. This places a huge demand on various storage hardware and software platforms to meet the scaling demands. This also complicates the lesser known, less prevalent part of data storage, backups.

Backup? who cares about backup? Backup isn’t headline grabbing. VCs don’t care about backups. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard people make those statements. Truth is, everyone should be worried about backups. Don’t believe me? Search for stories about backup tapes containing your personal or your company’s data being lost or stolen. Chances are either you, someone you know, or a company you do business with has either had their mission-critical data compromised because of a lost/stolen backup tape or suffered a significant outage due to lost data.

So here we are in 2018 and tape-based products still generate billions of dollars in revenue per year. That’s right, tapes based on 50-year-old technology are still being used today to contain your mission-critical data that can be easily stolen or destroyed. In the case of recovery, using a tape solution may require having an Administrator physically locate and install the correct tape, then execute a restore process.

Roughly a decade ago, several companies created purpose-built disk-based backup solutions to aid in the security, recovery and scale concerns relating to tape. However, with the rapid expansion and adoption of cloud-based resources, purpose-built backup products are quickly going extinct. As a CIO or a backup admin what do you do? Is using a public cloud provider the best solution for backups? How about a private cloud? Is there a better solution?

Let’s look at the Data Center of the future wherein nearly all apps are ran from and data stored on either private clouds, public clouds or both. Where does backup fit into this picture? Do purpose-built storage products still have a place within the modern Data Center?

Enter Hedvig. The Hedvig product contains a tremendous amount of flexibility that allows Backup administrators the ability to create a single universal backup storage platform. Utilizing Hedvig’s Distributed Storage Platform, the Hedvig cluster can be used as not only a backup target, but also a storage repository for any application. Storage and backup administrators can now point their backups from any backup application to a Hedvig cluster, then have their data instantly replicated to a multitude of destinations in multiple geographical locations to meet their internal operational and business requirements. Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform also includes utilizing public cloud providers. As seen in previous Hedvig Blog posts and demos, it is possible to build a Hedvig cluster that spans not only internal commodity hardware, but also multiple public cloud platforms.

This is done by installing the Hedvig storage service on all physical commodity-based servers and cloud instances that can act as a storage node. These storage nodes can span multiple racks, data centers, and various public cloud platforms, such as AWS and Azure.

Imagine being able to instantly create or change your backup failure domains as your business needs change and doing so without buying more purpose-built hardware. With Hedvig, a few clicks in our GUI and voila! you now have a new storage target with your updated off-site requirements met. As your business grows, and as your backup requirements grow, how can Hedvig meet the scaling demands? Simple. Hedvig clusters can easily be expanded whether it be within one or multiple Data Centers, or a public cloud provider. Existing Hedvig virtual disks can be seamlessly expanded to meet your growth requirements.

This example shows a Hedvig backup deployment comprised of Hedvig resources residing in two physical Data Centers and two public cloud providers. This example also shows the flexibility of the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform with regards to allowing Backup Admins to dictate how many copies of backup images need to be created and where those copies reside based on operational requirements. The mission-critical backups depicted in green require that a copy of each backup image reside in each Data Center and each public cloud instance. Similarly, the second-tier backups depicted in yellow reside in each Data Center and one of the public cloud instances. This method effectively eliminates the need for tape and purchasing expensive single-purpose backup-related hardware solutions.

Utilizing Hedvig for backups, enterprises can:

  • Lower costs by using commodity hardware along with compression and deduplication features
  • Implement flexibility for backup data by allowing varying backup copies to be stored at multiple sites based on business and regulatory requirements
  • Consolidate all backup application and domains into a single unified repository
  • Support lower cost backups to public cloud providers
  • Eliminate the security risk of losing tapes containing mission-critical sensitive data

Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t … The future of backup is here. The future is Hedvig

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