There are major differences between traditional backup solutions and native cloud backup solutions, that boil down to native cloud backup being the more efficient and agile option. This includes solutions like CPM, that leverage the technology that the cloud offers in order to perform better backup. The cloud disrupts the way IT management is done, with areas such as environment security, provisioning, and optimization. In this article, we will list 5 great advantages of a native cloud backup system.
1. Quick Installation and Configuration
As with most traditional IT solutions, including backup, software needs to be installed, and dedicated servers need to be setup and configured. This is time consuming, expensive, and in most cases, these are not trivial tasks. Based on my considerable experience in the backup and DR domain, on-premises backup can take days or even weeks to install. For example, some enterprise backup solutions, like Tivoli Storage Manager (IBM) or NetBackup (Symantec), can take weeks to integrate. The backup server, alone, can take hours or even days to install and configure, and in many cases requires the assistance of an expert.
The cloud generates great flexibility. Native cloud backup deployment is done, at most, in a matter of hours. Today you can find SaaS based backup solutions as well as image-based solutions like N2Ws' CPM, that require no installation at all. A virtual appliance is launched, providing a backup server without having to install any software. Configuration is minimal in most cases, relating directly to the backup policies that were defined. Even installing a TSM client, which is an agent, is much more demanding than simply launching an image in AWS.
2. Efficient Backup Mechanisms
N2Ws uses AWS' cloud snapshot technology, which comes with many benefits. For one, the backup process doesn't occur on your instance, so there is minimal impact on performance. However, traditional backup solutions that need to copy out 100GB of data will slow the server down until copying is complete. Even with an extremely powerful server, it is likely that there will be a significant decrease in performance.
AWS cloud snapshots are block level and incremental by nature, allowing for the best data reduction. Block-level incremental backup proves to be extremely efficient by identifying exactly which block to copy out (only the blocks that have changed since the last snapshot). Alternatively, most traditional backup solutions use file-level backups. If a database file is a 100GB large that needs to be constantly backed up, the entire 100GB file is read from the server and analyzed. This is the case even with deduplication technology, which also takes up a lot of CPU and is very heavy. Backing up in the cloud and into S3 provides durable storage and unlimited capacity at a very low cost.
3. Agentless Backup
In traditional backup, a backup agent must be installed on each server. In the case of enterprises, where their environments consist of many servers, there are numerous installations and setting configurations that take place. In most cases, this results in an outdated environment.
Due to the heterogeneous nature of enterprise environments, you will often find different types of agents on your servers, including agents for Linux, Windows, Oracle, and SQL servers. Generally, with snapshot technology, an agent is barely used, if at all. When using CPM for Linux backups, there is no agent on the instances, even to quiesce a database. If VSS with Windows is used, a very thin agent takes only about a minute to install, which really simplifies the backup solution's deployment. Generally, when a cloud vendor’s infrastructure is used to take a snapshot, it suggests backup be done on the storage level, and instance based installations aren't required.
4. Management Made Easy
Like typical, traditional software that uses Java or Windows based GUIs, even relatively new backup products, like Veeam, have an old-fashioned GUI. However, in the cloud, most, if not all, of the management tools are modern and web-based. Everything can be controlled and managed with ease from a browser anywhere in the world.
It’s also possible to use tools that are available inside the cloud for monitoring notifications and alerts. For example, N2Ws' solution uses Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS) to send emails and notifications about issues that occur during the backup process. Since traditional solutions are “locked-in" on-premises, they can’t be easily integrated with such modern cloud services, and usually need to be manually implemented. This integration can be challenging, such as when utilizing your mail server, for example, and the results can be unsatisfying if your generated emails are labeled as spam. On the other end of the spectrum, the AWS cloud, the most mature cloud that exists today, offers a rich selection of services that can be easily leveraged to relieve these types of issues.
5. Cloud Pricing and Licensing
In most traditional backup software, a license for testing is purchased in order to backup of tens or hundreds of servers, which is typically done on a long-term basis. This is similar to traditional software, which is purchased separately from support packages and additional capacity, and ends up being a very strict and cumbersome process.
With native cloud backup solutions, it's incredibly easy to launch a new instance in AWS, paying as you go. Purchasing a native cloud backup service like CPM can take less than a minute on the AWS Marketplace, with automatic billing on your AWS invoice that includes all of the cloud solutions you’ve previously purchased. The service can be cancelled at any time, and you’ll also be refunded for the part of the month that wasn't used. You might be more inclined to try new software, since commitment isn’t required, allowing you to start and stop at any time in a matter of seconds or minutes. Organizations that work mostly or completely with the cloud will come to expect that kind of agility when they buy software for the cloud.
We mentioned the significant differences between traditional and native cloud backup solutions. The building blocks that make up modern environments along with the distinctions between a traditional server and a replaceable cloud instance make adoption a great challenge for traditional IT backup vendors. In addition, there is no option for cloud based online services, other than utilizing a native cloud backup solution. There are additional advantages, such as leveraging the global presence of the public cloud as well automatic fast recovery.