Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Emergence of the public cloud

The public cloud has been transforming IT by a combination of exceptional technology improvements and attractive economics. Public cloud companies, notably Amazon and Microsoft, are accelerating their datacenter build-out and aggressively offering compute/storage/network at compelling prices. Every enterprise is looking for scenarios where they “offload” their infrastructure to the public cloud and reduce their CAPEX spend. According to a CIO of an IT service provider:

“If you don’t adopt the public infrastructure and move your value up the chain to some other differentiator, your competitor will, and you will be soon filing.”

This is changing the way companies think about their IT infrastructure, and public cloud is a central theme in strategic initiatives for most companies. A key driver of public cloud adoption is the backup scenario, and traditional products are evolving to embrace the public cloud. This is happening for two reasons:

 Backup is the largest consumer of on-premises storage. In addition, backup also
requires a tape-based infrastructure for long-term retention. The combined storage requirement can easily exceed several petabytes, and the total cost of ownership is
very attractive with the public cloud when compared to an on-premises deployment.

 For infrequently accessed data, the risk associated with storing data on the public
cloud is within acceptable limits.

Looking back at the challenges faced by IT professionals around backup and backuprelated storage, it is clear that the public cloud is uniquely poised to address the problems:
 It reduces the per-gigabyte cost of long-term storage by eliminating the CAPEX and OPEX associated with tape infrastructure. The cloud offers better economics and
faster, more reliable restores. Companies can reduce their on-premises footprint by keeping minimal retention (for example, one week) on local disks and moving the rest of the data to the cloud for longer retention.

 The per-gigabyte cost of backup also decreases for backup of client operating systems if the public cloud is used instead of infrastructure that is deployed onpremises. The affordability of traditional backup solutions is one of the key reasons organizations don’t deploy protection for their PCs (laptops and desktops), and the public cloud now makes this scenario affordable.

 Backup for branch offices becomes more cost effective by leveraging backup to the cloud. Typically, backup from branch offices is consolidated at the head office, and
this involves additional network and storage infrastructure to handle the high-volume backup traffic. Backing up data directly to the cloud reduces the overhead of deploying costly infrastructure just for backup.

 Backup products that have a public cloud element can leverage the public cloud to
deal with the problem of management at scale. The public cloud gives anywhere access for management and monitoring of backups, especially to end customers to
perform self-service restores.

That being said, there are some concerns that need to be addressed for any scenario (like
backup) that leverages the public cloud:

 Security The key question here is, “How secure is my data in the cloud?” Most cloud-based services offer some form of data encryption for the data to address this concern.

 Network The availability of bandwidth, the latency, and the cost of sending data
over the wire are the factors that affect a customer’s decision. Most of the countries/regions in the continents of North America and Europe have ubiquitous and affordable network connectivity. However, in many countries/regions, network bandwidth is not available or is quite expensive.

 Availability Reliance on a third-party cloud provider implies a set of risks around data availability, and even leading service providers like Amazon and Microsoft Azure have been hit with widespread service outages in the recent past. Cloud service providers offer service level agreements and compensation caused by down time which mitigates this to some extent.

When done right, backup to the cloud can be a game-changer for enterprises. The remaining chapters explore how Microsoft’s hybrid cloud backup solution (Azure Backup and Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager) addresses the challenges and mitigates the concerns.

Source of Information : Microsoft System Center

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