Backup and recovery used to follow simple processes. Your data was on-premise. You had an IT team handling issues. Your on-premise IT occasionally backed up your data, and recovered it as needed. Today, data is generated and distributed across highly complex ecosystems, such as multicloud, hybrid cloud, edge and Internet of Things (IoT), to name a few, making backup and recovery more difficult to achieve, and requiring innovative automated solutions. This article covers important trends driving the backup and recovery ecosystem.
Multi cloud strategies are gaining popularity because of the flexibility and performance optimization that mixing and matching services can provide. As these strategies expand, so does the need for multi cloud backup and recovery solutions.
Multi cloud data backup and recovery solutions can backup data across cloud services from different providers. Often, these solutions take backups from one service and store those backups on another for disaster recovery purposes. Ideally these solutions should also enable recovery to different providers.
One of the ways that multi cloud backup and recovery solutions are constructed is through the use of containers and microservices. These technologies enable you to deploy workloads and data in multiple cloud environments without having to worry about compatibility between services or proprietary formats. This is because each container is built independent of host operating systems and contains all necessary dependencies.
To back up these assets, you can make an image of your containers that can be shared and deployed as needed across resources. Since all containers contain the same code and can be accessed using the same API, you can then transfer workloads between services with minimal difficulty during outages.
This flexibility can enable organizations to avoid or minimize downtime in almost any situation. This is because it is extremely unlikely that all cloud providers an organization is using suffer the same disaster, always leaving a failover option.
Trend 2: Hybrid Cloud Backups
Like multi cloud deployments, hybrid clouds can grant greater flexibility and control to organizations and are growing in popularity. Hybrid cloud backup solutions are an option that you can use to either create a hybrid cloud or to support a hybrid cloud that is already in place.
These solutions work by first backing up data to an on-premises appliance and then duplicating that backup to cloud resources. This duplication can help you ensure that data remains available with minimal latency while still maintaining scalability of storage. Many solutions can also sync on premise resources with data generated in the cloud, allowing two way backup.
When using hybrid solutions, on-site backups enable you to recover backups more quickly, regardless of Internet connectivity. Meanwhile, cloud copies of those backups enable you to store older backups for longer and provide a mechanism for disaster recovery or failover in case your on-premises resources are compromised.
In addition to spreading your backups across resources, hybrid cloud backups can enable organizations to lower their capital expenses. Hybrid solutions enable you to off-load older backups to cloud resources, reducing the need for on-premises resources.
Hybrid resources mean fewer disks to purchase, manage, or maintain. Any backups stored in the cloud are saved on infrastructure that is managed by the cloud service provider, converting your capital expenses to typically lower operating costs.
Additionally, since the model is hybrid you can pay down technical debt on your own resources while still gaining access to cloud benefits. This makes hybrid solutions a compelling option, particularly for organizations with established infrastructures.
Trend 3: Cloud-Native Backup and Disaster Recovery
As more organizations adopt cloud only environments, cloud-native backup and recovery methods are increasingly necessary. These solutions are built into cloud services and typically offered directly by providers.
Cloud-native solutions can enable you to easily automate backups, manage backups at scale, and recover workloads and data globally with ease. These solutions are particularly important for cloud-native applications.
Traditional backups require individually copying data which is difficult to do in a distributed system and likely to lead to overlooked components. Meanwhile, cloud-native tools are already configured to back up the disparate resources and configurations used in a cloud-native deployment.
One thing to keep in mind, however, there are two aspects to cloud-native backups. One is the creation of container images. The other is the backup of supporting data and configurations.
For example, if you are operating stateful applications (which require persistent storage), a container image is not enough. This is really where cloud-native backups come in, duplicating data related to databases, infrastructure configurations, networking details, and associated files, such as media or codebases.
Trend 4: Disaster Recovery with IoT Devices
Internet of things (IoT) devices are taking over many networks, from digital assistants, to sensors, to user interfaces at endpoints. These devices are constantly collecting and processing data, often at the edge of networks and on internal resources. This means that the data on IoT devices is at least somewhat disconnected from the rest of the system. For example, if a system is damaged those devices may remain unaffected, retaining otherwise “lost” data.
While this data cannot provide a traditional backup for systems, it can be leveraged to recover systems to the last known state. This can be useful for determining what changes have occurred since the last full backup and can help organizations minimize any damages caused.
IoT devices can also provide an added advantage in that they can be helpful for early identification or prevention of disasters. For example, if you have environmental IoT systems monitoring your sites, these devices could help you detect a disaster such as a fire.
This sort of detection could be used to trigger an upload of device data to the cloud to ensure it isn’t lost. Or IT teams could be alerted, giving them time to download on-site backups to remote devices for later recovery.
Although IoT is not yet being touted as a solution for backup and recovery, the capabilities it can provide are useful integrations for existing solutions. As IoT matures, these applications are sure to be adopted more officially.
In today’s digital-first landscape, data is seen as the new gold. The Internet is filled with articles stating the importance of data, how much can be achieved by analyzing data, and how data-driven insights can be a major resource for business growth. However, when data turns into a valuable commodity, sought after by many, it also attracts the attention of threat actors. Data is, after all, what threat actors can steal from digital ecosystems.
To ensure the protection of data across distributed and complex systems, backup and recovery strategies should be created. At the moment, IoT deployments continue to increase, but not many businesses and end users are taking the necessary steps to secure data in these environments. This can create issues in the future, as smart homes’, offices’, and cities’ connectivity increases, and data becomes more exposed to highly exploitable ecosystems.
Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry.