As modern IT infrastructures explode with exponential data growth and as downtime becomes prohibitively disruptive for business operations, hybrid cloud backup seizes the opportunity and serves as one of the most important items in an IT toolkit. Hybrid cloud backup solutions combine both the performance of the traditional on-premises backup with the infinite scalability, and ever-decreasing costs, of public cloud storage. As a result, organizations can execute an industry-standard 3-2-1 backup strategy and instantly recover data while keeping implementation and maintenance costs low.
What is hybrid cloud backup?
“Hybrid” in the name implies the use of two components – one part on-premises and one part in the cloud:
- Local/on-premises software or appliance: Such a utility (whether software or physical device) enables: frequent, non-disruptive backups over high-speed LAN (local area network); instant restores of the latest copies of the data; and easy-to-manage offsite replication.
- Cloud-based replication target. The use of the cloud enables low-cost, long-term archiving. Due to the scalability of the cloud, the entire solution is future proof: companies don’t have to purchase an unnecessarily large, local backup appliance nor upgrade it when data volumes grow beyond its capacity.
In hybrid cloud backup solutions, it’s typical that the local component (backup appliance) and cloud subscription come as a part of one single solution. This makes replication easy to set up and optimized for performance, with WAN (wide area network) acceleration and bandwidth throttling. Additionally, to cover security/privacy/compliance requirements, most vendors maintain consistent encryption and key management through the entire pipeline from a source system to a long-term archive.
Hybrid cloud backup vs. direct-to-cloud backup
When compared to direct-to-cloud backup, a hybrid cloud backup approach has several outstanding advantages.
First, hybrid cloud backup supports the attainment of the “3-2-1” goal. A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least three total copies of your data, two of which are local but on different mediums (i.e., devices), and at least one copy off-site. Thus, since hybrid cloud backup solutions are designed to store the latest versions of data locally, they adhere to this 3-2-1 backup rule.
Second, let’s cover backup speed. Most cloud backup products are built to protect data daily. Hybrid solutions, however, allow taking snapshots of data multiple times per day or even multiple times per hour. The frequency of these snapshots significantly decreases the impact of any data loss or corruption by increasing the number of recovery points available. This is commonly referred to as Recovery Point Objective (RPO).
Third, hybrid cloud backup is more robust when it comes to the replication of data to the cloud. Unlike the direct to cloud backup approach, hybrid solutions allow the data to replicate during non-business hours, accelerate WAN transfer (shorter time and less data) by deduplicating data across multiple sources and backup jobs, and as a result – perform more frequent backups.
Last, but not least, recovery time is better. For the same reason above, having a local cache, hybrid cloud solutions provide nearly instant restoration of the latest versions of data, without the delay imposed by downloading data from the cloud (or alternate medium). This reduces the time to recover (minimizing downtime) business operations — commonly referred to as the Recovery Time Objective (RTO).
Hybrid cloud backup vs. local backup appliance
When comparing hybrid cloud backup to a standalone local backup appliance, hybrid cloud backup also has multiple advantages.
First, it delivers a “3-2-1” goal out of the box. There’s no need to set up tape or disk rotation, configure separate tools to replicate data offsite, and manage retention.
With hybrid cloud backup, the required local appliance footprint is minimal – and is only needed to hold a limited number of data copies. Usually, the appliance is treated as a “cache” of the latest data, while long-term archives are automatically transferred to the cloud. As a result, sizing of such an appliance is easy and companies are less likely to need an upgrade as the volume of data goes up.
Third, achieving security and data encryption goals is easier. A single solution for both on-premises and offsite backup storage means a consistent, end-to-end approach for encryption and key management.
What to look for when choosing a hybrid cloud backup solution?
Flexible retention – for both components. The retention policy needs of customers vary and are often driven by regulatory or auditing requirements. Vendors have different policies and features related to managing retention on-premises and in the cloud. These retention policies can range from maintaining a single local copy to multiple years of local retention. Likewise, off-premises/cloud retention can vary from 72 hours to 10 years. Verify that your chosen backup solution supports the unique retention requirements of your business.
Data verification. By going with a hybrid cloud solution, you are choosing to trust a single vendor with both local and cloud backups. Ensure that your hybrid cloud backup solution has built-in backup verification tools. These tools verify that your backup completed successfully, and ensures that you’re not left with data that is corrupted, either locally or in the cloud.
Comprehensive protection. Do you have other backup needs – such as endpoints like laptops and workstations? Do you have requirements to backup SaaS applications such as Microsoft Office 365, Google Workspace, or Salesforce.com? If so, ensure that your backup vendor provides a comprehensive portfolio of backup options. Maintaining your backups under a single umbrella, and with a single-pane-of glass for management, will simplify the implementation and support of the solution.
If you want to learn more about how Infrascale Disaster Recovery, our hybrid cloud backup solution, can keep your data safe and your business operational, visit the Infrascale website or sign up for a product demo. Don’t forget to check out our endpoint backup solution, Infrascale Cloud Backup, and our SaaS backup solution, Infrascale Cloud Application Backup, too. MSPs welcome!