With cloud storage becoming affordable and many servers being virtual and in the cloud, backing up servers to the cloud is an option which is hard to ignore for the enterprises. With a scalable Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), thousands of servers can be backed up to the cloud without compromising security, privacy, and confidentiality needs. Backing up servers to the cloud provides the enterprises a viable disaster recovery option as well. However, most factors to consider for server backups are very different from endpoint backups or Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS).
The key factors to consider are the following:
- Privacy of the data stored in the cloud: This is the most important aspect to consider. Most of the server data is usually confidential in nature. Hence, the enterprises should possess the encryption keys for the encrypted data.
- Cloud storage interface: Enterprises should not get locked down to a particular cloud vendor. However, file interface to the cloud platform may not be efficient for server backup. The cloud platform should provide object storage interface with limits large enough to support large numbers of objects a server may have. These limits may be related to number of objects in an object container or size of the object container.
- Ease of configuring servers for backup: The server backup solution should be capable of handling 10,000+ servers. The latency at CASB should be minimal. Temporary storage of the server data on CASBs may prove tricky because of the data volume.
- Support for different data types: The backup solution should have the capability to support flat files, different databases, and raw data. When supporting different data types, the administrators should have the option of using custom scripts for backup and restore. Some platforms provide snapshots of different data types and backing up snapshots is an effective mechanism without having to compromise on the application availability and data integrity. Ability to restore huge amounts of data of different types successfully and as fast as possible must be verified.
- Intelligent Scheduling: Because the volume of data is huge, the backup process, especially the full backup, should not slow down main function of the server. Hence, backup schedules should kick in at the right times. For latency and scalability reasons, some solutions may implement compression and encryption on servers. In this scenario, scheduling becomes even more important.
- Full VM Image backup: Many web and application servers in the cloud may be well served by a full VM image backup compared to file by file backup. It is important to ensure that a full VM backup capability exists in solutions being considered.
- Access to the public cloud from Servers: In most cases, the servers may not have access to external entities such as the cloud storage target. In such a scenario, the CASBs will be needed to also act as an interface or proxy between the servers and cloud storage.
Backing up servers to the cloud is not straightforward, but is possible with the right solution and deployment architecture. With most servers being configured for high availability, backing them up to the cloud may prove to be the most cost effective. As usual, I would love to get your feedback on this blog and your experience with migrating from on-premise server backup to the cloud.