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FCW : May 30, 2015
Backup and Recovery in a Hybrid World The City of Mount Dora, Fla. recently faced a problem. The city’s nine departments had outgrown a legacy data backup and recovery system. The organization found a solution in a cloud-based system that not only automated processes, but ensured that— in the event of an outage—city workers would be able to continue to function and no data would be lost. This story speaks to several characteristics of traditional backup and recovery: It can be very cumbersome and once you’ve flled a disk or tape, there’s nowhere else to grow. In addition, either technology can be a lot to manage and restore. In recent years data growth as well as capacities have increased tremendously, making the challenge of backup even more diffcult. The time-to-recovery for a large tape drive can be days or even weeks. However, with the advent of the cloud, backup and recovery may become easier for some organizations, and cheaper, too, as the burden of buying, maintaining and supporting traditional media is lessened. Agencies can keep the most important and sensitive data on site and send older or less crucial data into the cloud for short and long term storage. As with traditional storage, though, the old adage remains: You can’t set it and forget it. You need to understand not only what you’re storing but how your cloud provider is handling that data. “Even in the cloud things can disappear so you need to know exactly how backup and recovery works— both on-premise and in the cloud,” explains Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies Inc., a frm that specializes in cloud services. He says that agency IT people need to ask some questions before they transition a single megabyte into the cloud. For instance, what safeguards are in place to ensure your data is safe during transport as well as when it resides on the cloud provider’s servers? In addition, will your provider be able to scale appropriately? With traditional infrastructure, especially in the government space, it can be hard to fgure out how much space you’ll end up needing. Also important, he says, is asking how easily what you’re already doing can be aligned and integrated with a cloud backup solution. Most organizations will continue to use their current backup technology, and when the two can work together recovery becomes not only easier, but more effcient. Some agencies may want to add a third option in the form of an appliance that can use technologies like deduplication and compression to reduce the cost of cloud storage and data transport. When you’re sending less data to the cloud or more compact data, the agency will see cost savings in the form of less data sitting in the cloud. In addition, agencies that want to get out of the business of handling backup and recovery may want to see if their provider offers managed services that typically include software, restores, bandwidth and other forms of support. Finally, agencies should decide if cloud backup and recovery is really right for them. While it makes sense for most, it may not make sense for every organization, says Kaplan. “The cloud should be a tool to either economize on the physical process or further automate it,” he explains. “There’s got to be an ROI you can point to before you make a change.” GameChanger GAME CHANGING TECHNOLOGY TO MEET AGENCY MISSIONS SPONSORED REPORT HYBRID CLOUD IN RECENT YEARS DATA GROWTH AS WELL AS CAPACITIES HAVE INCREASED TREMENDOUSLY, MAKING THE CHALLENGE OF BACKUP EVEN MORE DIFFICULT.
May 15, 2015
June 15, 2015