If you’ve bought into or heard the idea of hybrid cloud merely being a precursor to a full cloud approach, you can move on from that thought. Thousands of organizations are using hybrid cloud as their permanent cloud solution. In fact, almost 50% of all workloads are now hosted on the public cloud.
Knowing that, most cloud providers find that their existing tools meant for physical and virtualized environments on premises aren’t effective or compatible with their new hybrid cloud architecture, forcing them to add yet another backup tool. That’s why the default for cloud backup over the past 10-or-so years has been a native snapshot of the service, with 61% of organizations still relying on snapshots alone today.
That’s just not enough. Your hybrid cloud backup strategy must include a solution that provides true backup with layered security and a hybrid and multi-cloud ready set of capabilities. Managing data across multiple environments presents many challenges, including:
- Redefining what IT means in your organization through training, upskilling staff, adding new staff and setting new requirements and expectations.
- Keeping a balanced approach to data backup and integrity by avoiding an “only local data is safe data” mindset.
- Maintaining ownership of your data so you can back it up to wherever you want, on your terms.
- Striving for a single, flexible backup solution, rather than forcing all your disparate data into one specific (and therefore inflexible) mold.
Download our e-book, Hybrid Cloud Backup for Dummies, today to explore solutions to these challenges, including how to ease management complexities, lower costs and avoid lock-in by deploying centrally managed, purpose-built backup and recovery for each of your environments.
Understanding Hybrid Cloud Backup
Hybrid cloud backup approaches the problem of not just preserving your data from threats wherever it lives, but ensuring that it isn’t corrupt. Relying on cloud-provider uptimes isn’t enough. If you have a database go bad and get replicated across regions, availability zones or platforms, it’s a backup that enables you to recover what was corrupted. The best way to ensure the cloud platforms of your hybrid cloud architecture is protected and secure is to select and utilize a singular solution for data backup.
This is why adopting a hybrid cloud backup strategy is so important. An effective data strategy must be flexible enough to support an evolving business, and should open options to you, not close them off. Here are some key benefits of adopting a hybrid cloud backup strategy:
Flexibility is critical when it comes to operating in ever-evolving hybrid and multi-cloud environments, and it’s equally important when it comes to all the varying approaches to protecting, storing and recovering data.
The Need for Purpose-Built Backup and Recovery
You need purpose-built backup and recovery. The difference between data backup and data resilience is simple: Data resilience attempts to make your data — current, as it stands, right or wrong — less likely to be deleted or vanish. Data backup approaches the problem of not just preserving your data but ensuring that it isn’t corrupt. However, no two platforms are created the same; the way a cloud database can and should be protected is different to an on-premises virtual machine (VM). That’s why the importance of deploying purpose-built backup for each of your environments can’t be emphasized enough. The best way to manage and protect data across a hybrid cloud is to select and utilize a singular solution for backup and recovery that is still native to each of the environments you intend to protect.
Ensuring Comprehensive Data Protection
On-premises and cloud-based data protection strategies should adhere to the 3-2-1-1 Rule. Specifically, in an on-premises case, data stored locally should have multiple copies backed up and at least one copy stored offsite. You need protection that is flexible and able to encompass your VMware, Windows Server, Oracle DB and more, and provides the centralized management needed to protect edge devices with ease. The ability to send backups between the cloud, an on-premises data center, or the edge is critical — and having a backup solution that makes that process seamless ensures you have the most robust data protection strategy.
Now, if you’re lift-and-shifting a workload to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), refactoring to a cloud database, building a net-new application in Platform as a Service (PaaS), or even executing a transformational project via Software as a Service (SaaS), your backup solution needs to natively back up and recover cloud data all from the same platform. In the case of cloud hosted workloads, an image-based backup of snapshots is stored in object storage, ensuring three copies (production, snapshot and backup) on two media (disk and object storage). Because backups are increasingly becoming the target for ransomware, having backup data that is immutable and cannot be encrypted, changed or deleted helps organizations have a clean set to resume operations in the case of an attack.
Advantages of Hybrid Cloud Backup
We can argue that traditional approaches to backup are not really backups at all for the following reasons:
- Security: Snapshots aren’t often stored independently of the data it is seeking to protect. So, if a production workload were compromised by ransomware, for example, the snapshot would also be compromised, rendering us with nothing to recover from.
- Recovery: This is the reason why we backup. While recovery of an entire instance from a snapshot can be fast, it is not flexible enough for most day-to-day recovery scenarios.
- Hybridity: Almost every organization is now hybrid or multi cloud. Snapshots are limited to a single platform, rendering organizations with multiple point products that are complex to manage, costly and lack feature parity.
The advantages of a flexible, hybrid cloud backup solution can’t be understated. The right solution should provide:
- End-to-end layered security: Logical air gap of backups from production, least-privilege access controls and immutable backups for resiliency.
- Fast, reliable recovery: Offering a broad scope of support for granular and full-instance recoveries, in and out of the cloud.
- Hybrid and multi-cloud ready: Standardized data protection across platforms, with built‑in centralized management, observability and portability.
These features give you the confidence to recover any workload even with the management of separate infrastructure teams, separate toolsets and separate policies, if needed. This helps you establish organization-wide standards across hybrid environments, thanks to policy-based backup settings, consistent monitoring and reporting outputs, and a platform with operationally consistent backup and recovery technologies — all of which adds up to less overhead in backup management, lower software and storage costs, and the risk mitigation needed to keep your recovery confidence interval high.
Retaining Ownership and Control of Data
While you shouldn’t be afraid to store data in the cloud, you should still be cautious to ensure you own your data is protected. That means you control where it’s stored now and in the future, how it’s replicated, and where your backup solution stores artifacts. Back up your data to where you want, on your terms.
To accomplish this, you need a nonprescriptive approach to hybrid cloud backup that eliminates lock-in and lock-out, so you have the freedom to host data where it best suits your organization. Cloud mobility enables you to recover, migrate and back up data to, from, and between clouds, while portable universal licensing takes the headache out of license redundancy and management.
Simplifying Management Complexities
Your plan should be less about the mechanics of a particular data model and more about selecting a provider and set of capabilities that address your current and future data needs. Inherent to a good selection here is support for disparity. Here are just a few valuable questions that you’ll want to ask:
- Are there are data model limitations? You want a “no” answer, here. Assume that the one unsupported data model will always be the one you’ll need most on your next project.
- Can heterogeneous data be treated as homogenous in backup? That’s a mouthful, but it boils down to this: You want your backup solution to allow you to treat data as data, not as “structured data,” “relational data” or “object data.”
- Can data be backed up from anywhere in its flow? Obviously, you should be able to back up data from where it ultimately rests (such as a database). But can you also take snapshot backups from transient data or as data moves from one instance to another?
Ultimately, the best solutions give you the most powerful tool you’ll ever have and the freedom to make choices that are right for your organization. Streamline management by leveraging automation and orchestration tools that allow you to activate backup and recovery processes from across your environments at the push of a button. Hybrid cloud backup allows you to stay data-model and cloud-infrastructure agnostic so you can truly own your data and manage it no matter where it resides.
Encouraging Data Privacy and Compliance
As we move workloads to the cloud, we are always relinquishing some degree of ownership and control of our data. After all, the cloud is just someone else’s data center. For industries that aren’t heavily governed or dealing with sensitive data like Protected Health Information (PHI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII), this might not be an issue. For others, like those in healthcare, finance, retail and more, the considerations are significant. It is critical that you assess the rules and regulations governing how, when and where you protect and store your data, and whether the tool you are assessing or using can adhere to that. In the cloud, this generally pertains to:
- Data residency: Where the data is physically stored and keeping it within borders.
- Data privacy: Safeguarding sensitive data through access control.
- Data retention: How long data should be retained and, ultimately, deleted.
Your selection and configuration of hybrid cloud often has a symbiotic relationship with your selection of data strategy — as well as the partner and backup tools that are attached to that strategy. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that your backup solution should provide layered security, fast and reliable recovery, with a hybrid and multi‑cloud ready approach, so you are prepared for anything.
For even deeper insights and implementation of hybrid cloud backup data protection strategies, get started with Hybrid Cloud Backup for Dummies.