Security and reliability of cloud storage
Virtualization of servers and storage is quickly becoming the norm within IT departments of all sizes. It’s almost universally recognized as a convenient and cost-effective way to increase storage space and the IT infrastructure while reducing footprint, energy expenditure and operating cost.
While cloud computing and virtualization has advanced rapidly, methods of backing up the data hosted on these virtual machines has lagged behind. Most companies still rely on either in-house or off-site tape backup to store and protect data. Tape backup has long been accepted as a traditional data backup method that meets certification and legal requirements. However, there are many challenges involved with backing up to tape.
Every single tape backup involves three components – the software that manages the tape backup interface, the hardware of the tape drive itself, and the media, or tape. If any one of these components encounters an error, the backup data is at risk and backup could fail completely. Tape backups require extensive manpower to monitor and control.
Restoring from tape is even more error-prone and unreliable. Errors are often difficult to spot, and verifying a tape’s integrity is usually impossible without performing a lengthy restore procedure. Whether the tape is located on site or at a third party facility, restoring from tape can take hours or even days.
Fortunately, the reliability and flexibility of cloud computing is becoming more easily available for data backup. Through the use of cloud storage gateways that use standard network protocol to integrate with existing backup software, data is seamlessly and reliably backed up to a cloud.
Cloud storage employs current standard encryption standards to guarantee security and privacy. There is no worry of data being read or misused, even in a shared storage environment. Direct backup to the cloud of up to 5 virtual machines – each hosting up to 200 virtual machines and 2-100 terabytes of data â€“ is supported.
Unlike traditional tape backup, cloud storage is easily scaled to accommodate growing storage needs. Even a sudden increase in the size of data can be accommodated increasing the time it takes to run the backup or acquiring tape media to handle the increased capacity.
Data can be recovered instantly â€“ even to another cloud or another site. It allows for quicker backup and restore jobs without the need for additional staff or extra man hours or monitoring. Backed up data is easy to see and is verifiable, reducing worry about recovery integrity.
Another important aspect is that cloud backup services work with most existing backup software packages. This protects a company’s software investment and eliminates the need to install and configure more software. It’s possible to edit existing backup jobs – in a matter of minutes – to configure backup to the cloud.
Cloud storage gateways are available as hardware appliances or software appliances that are installed at the customer’s site. The software gateway eliminates the need for more hardware to take up space.
Cloud storage and backup is a secure and reliable method of saving and protecting data that can be used alone or in conjunction with other backup methods.