If you run a small business, you face an important decision on off-site backup and recovery of your company’s critical data. On one hand, you can choose to go the no real backup full monty and hope that no disaster ever hits, exposing the fact that all your bits are hanging around in one place.
Or, perhaps not. You realize that disasters happen in all shapes and sizes from files getting lost, to a disgruntled (ex)employee sabotaging files on his way out, to an actual natural disaster happening literally in your own backyard. Indeed, it’s best to get some data protection implemented so if any files do get lost or damaged for whatever reason, you can access and restore the backups with full confidence.
Today, traditional backup and recovery plans used by small businesses deploy physical backup solutions that include physical tapes needing to be moved off-premises by messenger. This approach is rife with challenges such as being time-consuming, and inconvenient (to say the least). Worse yet, there is the risk that the company’s critical data will not be able to be restored when necessary (rather defeating the whole point of the exercise).
Fortunately, there is a new alternative. Companies like HybridgeIT, which provides virtual IT services for small businesses, are deploying Zmanda Cloud Backup to revolutionize disaster recovery plans. In turn, Zmanda is leveraging Amazon S3 storage cloud to store backup archives of its customers.
What this all means for small businesses is that they can now backup, archive, access, and restore years of their company’s critical data - on demand - via the cloud.
HybridgeIT CEO Martin Dunsby discusses the challenges businesses face with traditional backup and recovery to tape and how the cloud provides a more modern alternative.
Do You Still Use VHS Tapes?
How many of you watch your favorite movies on VHS tapes anymore? Even DVDs are giving way to on-demand viewing.
Ever fast-forward through the commercials, and wonder how you watched your favorite archived programming before digital video recorders? It rather feels like those were the TV-watching dark ages.
Now imagine that in 2010, you’re still storing your company’s critical data on what amounts to VHS tapes, and then having someone physically cart them off to who knows where.
Then imagine a disaster hitting and trying to recover that data. Do you feel anxiety rip through your stomach wondering: 1) Will the right tapes be found, and 2) Will the tapes actually work so you can retrieve the lost data?
For most small businesses, this isn’t pretend time at play, but rather how they actually backup their critical data (if they even have a backup and recovery plan).
Fortunately, the emergence of cloud computing provides the industry with a modern approach to backup and recovery.
Backup to the Cloud
Put simply, instead of writing to unreliable tape, you can now transfer your bits to a storage cloud.
But wait, there’s more, as besides not being 100% reliable, backup to tape also has some other fundamental challenges.
For one, it’s rather inconvenient and time-consuming to write to tape. Tapes need to be switched in and out of the physical drives and placed in the correct boxes in time for the messenger to pick up -- all of which needs to be managed by an extremely busy to non-existent small business IT staff.
In addition, an emerging requirement for backup is the ability to archive data. Just as Apple’s time machine has added this capability to look back into archived desktop files, small businesses would like the same feature for their data.
With Zmanda Cloud Backup, these challenges get resolved. Small businesses can save nightly snapshots to the cloud with varying retention policies. They may even archive years of past files for later recovery. Meanwhile, every bit is available for retrieval on demand: simple, easy and no more tapes to manage.
Zmanda CEO Chander Kant describes his experience utilizing Amazon's S3 offering.
Enter Amazon S3
As Zmanda began to develop its Cloud Backup solution, the company knew it didn’t want to be in the data center business, purchasing and managing terabytes and terabytes of storage.
In addition, Zmanda also knew that creating a billing system was an obvious requirement, but not a differentiating core competence that it wanted to invest limited time and capital to develop.
In parallel, Amazon emerged as a leader in not only compute but also storage clouds with its S3 offering. It was an ideal match.
Amazon S3 provided Zmanda with the terabytes of reliable storage it needed to grow without the initial high capital acquisition costs. In addition, Amazon clearly knows how to do billing, so it provided this service to Zmanda as well.
A third benefit emerged as Amazon began to provide location cloud services. Now, Zmanda customers could control which of the Amazon data centers to utilize, with the option to store in North America, Ireland or Singapore.
Ultimately, this all meant Zmanda was able to focus on developing its core competencies around creating best-in-class cloud backup software. Now small businesses have a viable choice for back up and recovery. Indeed, the emperor can be fully clothed -- and protected.
Martin Dunsby is CEO of Hybridge, a Cloud Systems Integrator, and is also Venture Partner/Entrepreneur in Residence at BlueRun Ventures. He works with startups and established companies to harness the economic and performance benefits of cloud computing, so his clients can focus their time and resources on their business success rather than IT.
Chander is the CEO and a founder of Zmanda. Chander provides a unique combination of leadership in open source and data protection software. He has been involved on both the technology and business sides of open source software and was named one of the "Top 20 Linux Luminaries" by Linux World Magazine in 2004. Prior to Zmanda, Chander founded and ran LinuxCertified, Inc, an open source product and services company. Earlier in his career, Chander was a business development executive at VERITAS software and served as a product line manager for storage software at SGI.