Most organizations looking to reduce data center footprint and leverage cloud
for backups and recoveries have a similar feel. It gives them an opportunity to
evaluate new vendors who can deliver great SLAs such as low RTO, low RPO and
multi-year retention at lowest possible costs in the cloud.
However, better SLAs at lower costs doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful
planning and a rethinking of how you protect your data. Bolting a 20-year-old backup
architecture to the cloud will not provide the benefits you are trying to achieve.
Here is a 9 point checklist to consider when evaluating a backup and DR solution in
1. Does it deliver low RPO of 1 hour or 15 minutes?
90% of enterprises have VMware on-premises. VMware offers Change Block
Tracking (CBT) APIs that every backup vendor uses to deliver an efficient
incremental forever backup. Efficient use of CBT means that recurring full backups
are no longer needed. This architecture has led to up to a 20x reduction in the
backup window, storage IO, and impact on production applications.
Unfortunately, none of the cloud platforms provide CBT APIs. Cloud platforms
like AWS offer EBS snapshots, but there is no way for backup vendors to query &
protect just the changed blocks.
As an example, consider a 10TB environment with 3%, (i.e, 300GB) change data
per day. Even though just 300GB changed, since there is no CBT API, traditional
backup vendors have to mount, ingest and dedup the entire 10TB from the
snapshot every day. Deduping large amounts of data every day increase the CPU,
Memory and SSD costs in the cloud. And most importantly, this architecture can’t
deliver a low 1 hour RPO, which is essential for mission-critical applications.
So look for a backup solution that can provide application consistent, cloud CBT
based incremental forever backup solution in the cloud. This will help you achieve
low RPO and reduce the impact on your cloud VMs
2. Does it deliver low RTO in minutes?
Most on-premises backup vendors can deliver instant recovery for VMware
backups because VMware allows you to present backups to an ESX datastore. The
backup vendor can then orchestrate with VMware vCenter and spin up the VM.
However, a cloud vendor doesn’t allow access to the hypervisor to mount a
backup. Thus you need a solution that can
1. Capture the entire cloud VM, including system state, during backup
2. Recover to a new cloud VM by using the system state
3. Recover the application, even with multi TB volumes, instantly by mounting
from backups, instead of restoring the entire data which bloats the RTO
3. Can you get high performance for mission-critical
On-premises, a lot of backup vendors claim instant recovery of VMware VMs off
their deduplicated backups. However post recovery, since the performance from
the dedup storage is very low, they rely on VMware’s storage vMotion capability to
migrate those recovered VMs off their deduplication pool to production storage.
They also recommend recovering just a few VMs at a time because it impacts both
the recovered VMs and the simultaneous backups or replication happening in the
Unfortunately, in the cloud, there is no equivalent to storage vMotion. Thus if you
were to mount even 5 of your 200 cloud VMs off the deduplicated backups, the
post-recovery performance would be extremely poor.
So look out for a backup vendor that can deliver high-performance post instant
mount/instant recovery. Especially for Tier 1 mission-critical applications, this
becomes very important
4. Does it deliver instant recovery directly from cloud object storage?
60% to 70% of enterprise applications can be classified as Tier 2 apps which, postrecovery, don’t have as stringent performance needs as Tier 1 critical apps.
If you could store backups of such Tier 2 and Tier 3 apps in cloud object storage such as
AWS S3/S3IAS, Azure Blob, Google Nearline, instead of AWS EBS, Aure Disk, or Google
persistent disk, it reduces your storage costs by 3x to 5x. But at the same time, you
don’t want to sacrifice your RTO.
So look for a backup solution that can offer instant mount / instant recovery off the
backups stored in cloud object storage. Such technology avoids “restoring/copying”
data from cloud object storage to block storage, thus reducing RTO to minutes. Thus,
you get better SLAs at significantly low costs.
Check out this blog which illustrates benchmark results of cloud object storage and a
comparison between various cloud vendors
5. Can you provision database clones instantly off the backups
stored in block or cloud object storage?
What do you do when you need to test an urgent patch on your database or large file
systems? You spin up a compute instance which looks the same as production, restore
data from the most recent backup to it so that the data looks similar to production,
and then start your testing.
Similarly, Dev, QA, Build Integration teams, Analysts, etc. all demand copies of
production data for testing. It could vary anywhere from three to dozen copies.
For example, if your IT team is creating 5 physical copies of a 10TB database using
£70/TB/month cloud block storage it would cost you £4,600 per month – not to
mention the amount of manual time spent in creating these copies.
Look for a backup solution that can allow your DevOps users to create thin database
clones off the backups in a self-service manner. Thus, in the above example, by
provisioning 5 thin clones from the 10 TB backup, you incur only £750 per month, an
80% cost reduction !!
If the backup vendor can deliver this capability straight from cloud object storage, which
costs $10/TB/month, you would incur just £70 per month, a 96% cost reduction!!
6. Can you restore, after many years, without the backup vendor tool?
As discussed earlier, cloud object storage is inexpensive (£5 to £10 per TB per month
on various cloud platforms). So it’s a perfect medium to store both on-premises
backups as well as cloud backups.
If you have multi-year data retention compliance needs, it becomes crucial for you to pick
a backup solution that can give you data access even without the backup software. You
need peace of mind that if you were to leave the backup vendor a few years from today,
you could still access your backups in the cloud object storage with a simple tool, thus
not having to maintain a full-fledged backup software with the associated expertise.
7. Does it work on all major cloud vendors like AWS, Azure, Google, IBM?
Nobody likes vendor lock-in. Moreover, some enterprises want to work with different
cloud vendors for different use cases and workloads. It’s not uncommon to pick one
cloud for analytics, one for PaaS, and another for IaaS. So you need to select a backup
product that can work on all the major cloud vendors like AWS, Azure, Google, IBM
cloud or Private Cloud into a MSP Datacentre.
8. Does it protect and recover on-premises physical and VMware
workloads in the cloud?
Most organizations want to reduce their data center footprint. The low hanging fruit
is to reduce backup and DR infrastructure in data centers by using the cloud. For most
customers, the cloud journey starts with on-premises backups replicating to the cloud.
However in doing so, make sure that you pick a backup solution that can recover the
entire VM or physical server as a cloud VM in the cloud provider of your choice AWS,
Azure, Google. This will ensure that when you recover, you get the OS, Application,
Service Packs back automatically. And obviously, the be
9.Is it highly rated by Gartner for Cloud IAAS integration?
Enterprises view Gartner as a leading analyst firm. They deliver incredible value by
evaluating vendors’ strengths and weaknesses for various critical capabilities. They are
vendor neutral and spend countless hours talking to IT practitioners, cloud providers
and data protection vendors. They share their findings in the Cloud IaaS integration
section in their “Critical Capabilities for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions.”
You can read all the details in their report which is available here.
Cloud delivers fantastic speed and a flexible cost model. If you are already using cloud
or are evaluating the cloud, it is an excellent opportunity to think differently and
evaluate backup and DR vendors who have built their solutions from the ground up for
Low RTO, low RPO, and flexible retention are the key SLAs to consider for backup
and DR. Make sure you get those rich SLAs at meager cloud infrastructure costs by
following this checklist while evaluating an enterprise-grade backup and DR vendor for
Want to know more about how DirectCloud Backup can help to understand the Cloud Backup & DRaaS Offerings – Talk to us today.