Do you still have to keep backups on-premises even though your backup is stored off-site? Is cloud backup storage enough to keep you up and running in the event of a disaster? What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud data storage against on-premises data storage?
Many conversations about the best backup storage location will cover the importance of cloud storage. While backup to the cloud is important for the overall backup strategy, I think the local backup is still a valid option, and must be discussed on any backup workshop. To learn more about the two methods of storing backup data, let’s first discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method, starting with the cloud storage.
Why Cloud Backup Storage is Good
It is important to keep a copy of your data off-site in the event of a complete on-premises data failure. Some of the advantages of cloud storage are:
- Affordable Cost:
Cloud storage is cheaper than acquiring the equipment and licenses for storage to be hosted on-premises. The saving will be on the capital and operational level, in addition to the power saving. This makes cloud storage very attractive.
- Anywhere, anytime access:
Cloud storage is accessible from anywhere at any-time, and if necessary, you can retrieve your data from the cloud storage to anywhere, at anytime with few, if any, connectivity challenges.
After you start using the cloud storage, you also will be storing your production data off-site. This will cover and protect you from a complete on-premises data loss disaster.
The above advantages are good reasons why cloud storage meets many requirements. The points we will discuss below are some points that you must cover in your strategy to get the best of the cloud storage:
In today’s cloud era, I think this question must be asked: Do our compliance rules and regulations allow our data to be stored in the cloud, or not? More than that, is data stored in the cloud safe? If you understand where your responsibilities start and end before you embark on the cloud journey, you will be in a better position to secure your data when it comes to storing your data in the cloud.
It is critical to be realistic about the bandwidth and time available in your backup window before you start moving and storing data in the cloud. When you start backing up and storing data in cloud storage, you must move the data somehow to the cloud storage. There are many ways that can help you to speed up the process, and to save you time and money. First, you must ask yourself, what can I expect when I have to recover from a disaster? How fast can I recover my data using the available bandwidth? And what will that cost me? Many cloud storage providers charge for data leaving their cloud storage.
What will happen if there is a problem with your connectivity? Is there any other way you can access your data if you lost your on-premises internet accessibility in the event of a disaster? Also, how much will it cost to get the data back from the cloud storage?
On-Premises Backup Storage
On-premises backup storage will eliminate the challenges you will face when thinking of using the cloud storage strategy to store your backup. Some advantages are:
- Security of your data:
With your data stored on-premises, there will be no concern about the security of your data beyond the normal overall data security of your premises.
Your data lives in your own data centre. Local network and storage network will be more flexible and cheaper to utilize than upgrading your WAN connection back to the cloud storage.
In the event of a disaster, it will be faster and cheaper to recover your data from your storage than using the WAN to restore from the cloud storage.
However, with on-premises storage, you will face some similar challenges to that of cloud storage:
You must specify and then purchase the storage equipment to start storing your data. and then you must maintain the storage equipment in working order over the lifetime of the equipment. All of this will cost money, both for the initial outlay and as an ongoing cost.
- Data Access:
Your data will be accessible only from from on-premises if you haven’t an access to your onsite data from outside the local network.
- Local Storage:
Your data is not protected from a complete storage or site disaster. If something happens to your on-premises data centre, your data will most likely be inaccessible for the same reason your data centre failed.
Enjoy both worlds
From the comparisons we have just made, you see that there is no one strategy that will do it all. The best strategy to enjoy both worlds is to have on-premises and cloud storage together. How that can be done? Well, first look at how to recover from two different possible disaster scenarios:
- Partial Disaster:
With this kind of a disaster, not all your site will be experiencing an outage, or the disaster is affecting only some files or systems. You can use your onsite backup storage to easily restore your data. Another question you must ask is “How long should I keep data on-site before I start moving data to the cloud? It is normal for companies to keep two weeks of data stored on-premises before the older data is moved out to cloud storage.
- Complete Disaster:
As the name implies, this type of outage will affect all your on-premises services. The backup data you have stored off-site will come in handy to restore to your on-site services, or to an alternative location. To keep your company operating after a disaster, it probably will be a good idea to also think of replicating your mission-critical services to an off-site location to keep you up and running in a case of a complete disaster
It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of backup storage we have discussed in this blog. Obviously, I have kept the summaries of the advantage and disadvantages to three points only to keep the post short. But, I’m sure you can add a dozen other points, for good or bad, for each. Most importantly, you must understand your business tolerance for a data outage. It can take some time to remediate your site from a disaster, whether it is partial, or complete failure. The important thing is to be prepared for any eventuality.