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The Big Question: Local backup or Cloud?

Oleg Mikhalsky | July 3, 2013
Hybrid is your answer

Avoid disaster without overspending

How do you avoid a disaster without overspending? These questions can navigate you through the decision-making process towards an efficient and reliable backup strategy.

Ask yourself:

-Is there any data or system that in the case of downtime, needs to be recovered in minutes or hours?

-Is there any data or system that if corrupted or lost entirely, would affect your business continuity?

-Is there data that needs to be archived over a long period of time or accessed remotely?

In addition, you might come up with a few questions of your own aimed at better classifying your systems and data into three categories:

-Needs fast recovery

-Needs bullet-proof protection  

-Needs long-term storage

Now, each category can have its backup policy aligned with the main requirement you have identified: needs local backup, both local and cloud, or cloud only. Further, in case your available budget requires you to accept certain trade-offs, be prepared to go a level deeper and segment the data within a single category into tiers that can have different levels of protection, so  you can optimise the amount of local or cloud storage needed to fulfill a certain requirement.

Single offering

Once you are done, the final question to ask is: What backup vendors offer a combination of features and technologies in a single offering that are mature and reliable and work equally well for both local and cloud destinations, giving you enough flexibility?

At this point you would probably notice that even an established online backup vendor might not have a full set of local backup capabilities that the veterans of the backup world would offer you - especially when it comes to ultimate protection in the form of system-image backups - an essential technology for true cloud-based disaster recovery. The choice of vendors could become quite limited.

Using different software for on-site and cloud backups is leading to management overheads and is not cost-effective. With just one software solution to maintain and configure, you will have the ability to back up to both on-site and cloud destinations at the same time.

Further, experienced users can configure retention rules and create sophisticated backup strategies. This means that you do not have to pay twice for the software, and there is no unnecessary investment of time, money or labour to train for different products.

The bottom line: Ask yourself a few simple questions to align the hybrid backup approach to your backup goals. As a result of dual local and cloud backup strategy, you get an unprecedented level of security and accessibility for your systems, applications and data. And using a single software solution capable of doing both reduces your cost and frees you from unnecessary management overheads.

Oleg is Director of Cloud Services at Acronis.  


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