Choosing a backup solution for business can lead you down one of two roads, cloud storage or a remote backup solution. Whilst a cloud storage solution can offer you up to 100% uptime and guaranteed data security, a remote backup solution can also offer similar levels of data security with the main benefit being the flexibility in location that is often available. When choosing a backup solution for the data hosted on your servers, an important consideration is the location at which your backups are going to be hosted – you want backups to hosted at a separate geographic location and preferably with a second data centre provider than where your servers are hosted. Secondary to this should be the price that you are paying because the information hosted on your servers is often integral to the running of your business.
How can remote backup solutions complement a business’s backup needs?
Remote backup solutions have always been seen as the best choice for businesses looking for a preventing data loss if circumstances occur where data has been erased from their servers. Using a remote backup solution meant that businesses could store information that was important to their operations on their servers safe in the knowledge that it would always be recoverable if it was deleted. However, the cloud now threatens the dominance of this once popular method and even though the cloud can offer greater resources, more often than not it is unable to match the locational flexibility offered by remote backup solutions.
Location is key to the success of backup processes because as well as isolated server events, there will always be the possibility that data loss could be caused by something happening to the data centre in which your servers are hosted. Using remote backup solutions enable you to choose backup servers that are hosted in geographically dispersed locations and you can configure these servers to work in sync, despite the distance. With the cloud this separation isn’t possible because all servers underpinning the cloud have to be located in the same data centre if it is to serve its purpose.
A remote backup server can have much tighter integration with your front-end servers than the cloud. Utilising technologies such as rsync and SSH/Telnet, your remote backup server can interact directly with your front-end servers and data can be backed up as it is modified or created, removing the need for a backup schedule and guaranteeing that all data can be recovered no matter when a data loss-incurring event happens.
How does cloud storage weigh up as a backup solution?
Cloud storage as a backup solution is targeted at businesses with rapidly growing storage requirements and those who don’t know how much storage they’re going to require in the near future. The cloud architecture dictates that there are virtually limitless levels of storage available and this idea is reflected in the services offered to customers because as much additional storage as necessary can be ordered in most cloud environments. As a backup medium, the cloud is also highly cost efficient because the customer will only ever be paying for the amount of storage that they are using with cloud providers that utilise the “pay per use” costing model.
The cloud can be used for the backup of desktop computers as well as servers. Depending on the cloud hosting provider that you choose, a desktop client is usually available for most operating systems that can be configured to backup the contents of local machines to the cloud. Depending on the storage arrangements of your employees, this could also prove to be a highly beneficial feature. Servers can also adopt similar techniques so that configuring backup processes for your servers needn’t be a time consuming process.
Using cloud virtual machines (VMs) rather than cloud storage services offers scope to introduce additional software and services to supplement your backup processes. If you are running Linux then you can use rsync to keep files in constant synchronisation with the cloud so that when they are changed on your servers, the new version is automatically backed up to the cloud. This removes the need to implement a backup schedule because the backup processes will be running constantly. If you are running Windows then the use of VMs will also enable you to make use of the backup tools built into the OS, which can sometimes offer better efficiency. In any case using cloud VMs for backup processes can allow for better documentation of backups that have been completed.
Online cloud storage or remote backup solution?
The answer to this question will be dependent on the technologies that you want to use and how much you have available to spend. The cloud can offer a simple backup solution that guarantees data security and high availability. The cloud also complements small budgets by providing a platform on which you only have to pay for the disk space that you are using. Remote backup solutions are the best option for businesses with bigger budgets and where there is a need to use additional proprietary backup technologies or processes.