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Simplifying Backups: When a Backup Isn't a Backup

Should Offsite Backups Go Through an On-premise Appliance?

By Nick Mueller,

If you are deciding on a new offsite backup solution to replace tapes in a medium-sized organization you have a lot of choices. Right now, many enterprises in the 20- 2000 employee range are choosing cloud backup services to leverage the much talked about scalability and cost savings. Of course, before getting to a shortlist of vendors, organizations face a strategic decision about which approach to take:

  • An on-premise gateway to the cloud style solution
  • A pure cloud Backup-as-a-Service Solution

An on-premise gateway to the cloud style solution
While the on-premise appliance/cloud approach has some convenient features, using a backup appliance as a second disk array for on-site backups while, at the same time functioning as the organization's gateway to the cloud creates a single point of failure with all the associated risks.

In a failure scenario, the failure of the appliance also results in the inability to access even a single file of backup data in the cloud. This is due to the proprietary nature of how appliances and their bundled software handle backups and transmit data to the cloud. Also, the probability of an on-premise appliance failure increases if your business needs require a very short RPO that puts heavy demands on the appliance. High levels of built-in redundancy are prevalent in the IT world precisely to avoid scenarios like this. With on-premise cloud gateway solutions fail-safe redundancy comes at twice the price, since the only way to create redundancy to protect against this is by owning two appliances.

Pure cloud Backup-as-a-Service Solution

One of the advantages of backing up data online in the cloud is not buying, installing, managing, and updating hardware. Enterprise backup and data recovery solutions that are delivered as a pure cloud service, like Zetta, eliminate the single point of failure issue, require no new hardware, and provide access to backup data through a web browser. Your data, and the recoverability of the data, is protected - even in cases where the primary data center is without power or has been destroyed by a disaster such as a tornado.

With Zetta's service, a lightweight desktop client does the work of an on-premise appliance by securely sending data directly from the server, laptop, or desktop being backed up to geographically dispersed SAS 70 Type II certified data centers which utilize redundant internet connections, backup power generators, and physically protect your data in a RAIN 6 infrastructure.

No single hardware failure can cause a loss of data or access to data. Part of being BaaS means that backing up new servers or laptops, even in remote offices doesn't require paying for more software licences. You only pay for the amount of data you're backing up.

Medium-sized enterprises have the most to gain from adopting the cloud online backup approach since their data protection and availability demands are equivalent to a large enterprise but their IT resources are generally more limited.

By utilizing a pure cloud solution businesses can avoid the pitfalls and hassles of an appliance while enjoying the benefits of online backup. This is the main reason medium-sized businesses should just say "no" to using an on-premise appliance for offsite backups, and "make it so" to Backups-as-a-Service.

Nick is Zetta's Corporate Reporter, and has been writing and telling stories about technology with blogs, social media, and content marketing since the days when the BBS reigned.

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Derek Kol is a technology specialist focused on SMB and enterprise IT innovations.