For a number of years now, Veeam has been talking about the 3-2-1 rule of backups, whereby you keep three copies of your backup data on two different media types with at least one of those backups held off-site. Traditionally, most organizations have been able to put this into play by taking advantage of on-premises storage and media hardware along with multiple data center locations to cater for the off-site requirements. This is where off-site data backup services can come into play to satisfy the off-site backup services requirement.
Off-site backup solutions offer numerous benefits to organizations, including increased efficiency and reliability based upon features and capabilities that not many companies may afford. There’s also no need to worry about infrastructure maintenance as that burden lies with the service provider, and the scalability of service providers can be leveraged without an upfront CAPEX spend. Another advantage of off-site backup solutions is accessibility, as the data is accessible from any internet-connected location and device.
Since Veeam Backup & Replication v8, Veeam has offered Cloud Connect as a means for the Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partners to provide off-site data backup services. With Veeam Cloud Connect, they can give their customers the ability to leverage cloud repositories to store virtual machines in service provider facilities. By leveraging Veeam Cloud Connect Backup, a number of VCSPs around the world have built off-site backup solutions. The Veeam Cloud & Service Provider directory lists out VCSP partners in your region of choice… but how do you choose between them?
Below are five considerations when searching for an offsite backup solution:
1. Data locality and Availability
Data sovereignty is a still a major concern for organizations looking to back up off site to the cloud. With the VCSP network being global, there is no shortage of locations to choose from to have as an off-site repository. Drilling down even further, some providers offer multiple locations within region, which can increase the resiliency and Availability of off-site backups and let you choose multiple repositories to further extend the 3-2-1 rule. It’s also a good idea to do some research into the service providers uptime and major event history, as this can tell you either way if a provider offering the off-site backup service has had any history of Availability issues.
2. Recoverability and restore times
It’s hard to defeat the laws of physics, and in searching for an off-site backup solution you should think about how long the data you have in a cloud repository will take to restore. This goes beyond the basics of working out recovery time objectives (RTOs) in that taking backups off site means that you are at the mercy of the internet connection between you and the restore location and in the restore capabilities of the service provider. When looking for a suitable off-site backup solution, take into consideration the roundtrip time between yourself and the service provider network and also the throughput between the two sites making sure you test both, upload and download speeds to and from each end.
Note that Veeam-powered off-site backup services can improve recovery times compared to those that rely on tape-based backup due to Cloud Connect repositories at the service provider end being housed on physical disk.
3. Service provider certifications and SLAs
As with data locality, more and more organizations are looking for offsite backup solutions that meet or match their own certification requirements. This extends beyond more common data center standards such as ISO 9001 and 27001, but also now looks at more advanced regulatory compliance to do with data retention and goes as far as service providers abiding by strict security standards. If your organization is in a specific vertical, such as Healthcare’s HIPAA standard, then you may look for an off-site backup solution that is compatible with that.
It’s also worth noting that service providers will offer differing service level agreements (SLAs) and this should be taken on board when searching for an off-site backup service. SLAs dictate the level of responsibility a service provider has when it comes to keeping to their promises in terms of services offered. In the case of off-site backup, it’s important to understand what is in place when it comes to integrity and security of data and what is done to guarantee access to your data when required.
4. Hypervisor support
Multi-hypervisor support does come into play when looking forward towards extending off-site backup and looking at recoverability in the cloud. For example, Veeam Cloud Connect works with both VMware and Microsoft hypervisors, and VCSPs have the ability to offer one or both of these platforms from a replication point of view. However, with Cloud Connect Backup, the off-site backup repository is hypervisor agnostic; cloud repository is acting as a simple remote storage option for organizations to back up to. With Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5, you can now replicate from Cloud Connect Backups and choose a provider that has one or the other, or both hypervisors as platform options.
Cost might seem obvious, but given the variety or services offered through the service providers it’s important to understand the difference in pricing models. Some service providers are pure infrastructure providers (IaaS) offering Backup as a Service (BaaS), which means you are generally paying for a VM license, storage and there might be additional charges for data transfer (however, this is fairly rare in the IaaS space). These service providers don’t cover any management of the backups — generally this is handled by managed service providers that wrap service charges on top of the infrastructure charges offering end-to-end off-site backup solutions.
The five tips above should help you in searching for an off-site backup service. You need to remember that each service provider offers something slightly different, which means your organization has choice in terms of matching an off-site data backup service that suits your specific requirements and needs. My recommendations will also help you navigate through Veeam Cloud & Service Provider partners that leverage Veeam Cloud Connect for their off-site backup offerings.