The Death of Backup And the Rapid Rise of the Cloud

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Backing up data has always driven data center administrators crazy. It's expensive, complicated and prone to serious errors. The reason is the amount of data always has and always will grow enormously, and it has gotten to the point where many organizations can no longer accomplish their backup and disaster recovery tasks in the available time.

Once a mere pain in the neck, data backup is now a major risk issue for public and private sector enterprises. The cloud is about to change this long-standing problem. As cloud computing takes hold, more and more organizations are beginning to outsource their backup and disaster recovery processes and are feeling some relief.

For the over-burdened data center administrator, the cloud can be a dream come true. If you outsource an application to the cloud, all the data management tasks associated with keeping it running, protected, and replicated for disaster recovery (DR) are outsourced with it. The issues and costs become someone else's problem. Of course, delivering high service levels for cloud-based apps or infrastructure comes at a cost, but the operational advantages can represent a real return to the business, and the CFO may like the fact that his costs turn into a more predictable operating expense.

The backup and recovery complexities that plague in-house IT teams morph into services provided by the cloud vendors. Outsourcing backup and DR functions for specific applications is a good way to get your feet wet in the cloud, and get a feel for how it affects your organization. You're likely to become hooked.

The operational benefits of moving to cloud-based backup and DR are major: No more buying backup servers or software, reduced client license costs, simpler end-user service level agreements (SLAs), and no more struggling with backup devices or buying more and more equipment to keep pace with data growth.

If you're ready to take advantage of the cloud, start by virtualizing your infrastructure. Once your storage and servers are virtualized, it will becomes much easier to move your data to the cloud. Do your homework, research the vendors, and once you pull the trigger, kick back and declare that - at least for your organization - Backup is Dead! Long live the Cloud!

Christopher Poelker is the author of Storage Area Networks for Dummies, the vice president of enterprise solutions at FalconStor Software, and deputy commissioner of the TechAmerica Foundation Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud (CLOUD²).

This story, "The Death of Backup And the Rapid Rise of the Cloud" was originally published by Computerworld.

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