Straight Talk: Introduction to the cloud for data backup and disaster recovery

The cloud offers solutions for every data and computing service possible. This series dives into the question regarding whether cloud computing can be used for data backup and, if so, where? The goal is to understand the cloud as it relates to data storage, then to understand backup requirements and finally to identify where the cloud will and will not work for data backup.

This is the first in a series of sections from this guide.

The purpose of this book is to help you to understand your options for leveraging various cloud configurations and services, so you can better meet your business and IT requirements for backup and disaster recovery.

"The cloud" is used to describe many scenarios where computing resources – applications, servers, storage or network resources – are delivered from an offsite source. It often appears to be a panacea for a wide range of IT problems and, indeed, for some applications the cloud is a natural fit. For example, organisations that need complicated multi-user applications to run themselves (e.g. CRM) find the cloud to be a logical solution, since paying for the application usage is better than staffing up to manage and operate the application in-house.

However, as suitable as the cloud is for some scenarios, it can be equally as challenging for others. If the cloud is used for purposes that aren't quite the right fit, costs could actually rise and user productivity could fall. In this guide, we'll specifically discuss how the cloud can be used for data storage, archival storage, data backup, and disaster recovery.

We'll start by describing the major cloud types you can choose to deploy, before moving onto data storage requirements and where it makes sense to leverage cloud storage resources. We'll then describe how certain cloud resources and services can be used to provide improved data protection, allowing your company to retain data to meet business and regulatory requirements and recover it in the event of a primary site disaster situation. Finally, we'll offer suggestions and questions to ask vendors and cloud providers to help you decide where the cloud may logically fit into your environment to meet your backup and disaster recovery requirements and provide the greatest value.

Bill Andrews is the president and CEO of ExaGrid Systems