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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Data Recovery: Think Globally, Trust Locally

It seems much of the hand-wringing over cloud-based data recovery is related to the feeling of uncertainty brought about by one simple question: “Where is my data really being stored?”

It’s a fair question. If you decide to store, say, your personal financial information with Google Cloud Storage, you don’t know exactly where your data is backed up. Sure, you trust it because it’s Google, and who doesn’t trust Google?

But the truth is, you can’t physically put your hands on a disk holding your backed-up data. You just can’t.

There’s a local brewery here in the Louisville, Ky., area that has in the past used the tagline, “Think globally. Drink locally.” Basically, it means that you can drink the best beer, and at the same time, much of that beer is being brewed somewhere close by.

cloud data recovery - server

“Hey, that doesn’t look like a cloud.” (Photo courtesy Flickr.com/Sivaserver.)

Enterprise cloud solutions for your data recovery and recovery time objectives can work the same way, if you know where to look.

A recent article over at InformationWeek.com suggests that tape far surpasses cloud in the event a recovery is needed because of the slow download time for retrieving your data via the Internet. To be fair, the article seems to be largely in response to cloud vendors’ claims of cloud superiority for data recovery without addressing download times for retrieving lost data.

“If you lose an entire server,” the article states, “the data de-duplication that helps you in backup is not going to save you from an extended period of downtime while this data trickles through the Internet. … In almost every case, having the provider create a tape and overnight it to you would be faster. Incidentally, if they gave you the ability to create your own local tape as I described in my last column, you could go get the data yourself from your own storage. Basically, you could have a backup to your backup. In a disaster that is a good thing.”

We at TDV Cloud agree: Having a backup to your backup in a disaster is a very good thing. In fact, we wouldn’t think of doing it any other way.

What’s missing here is that by using a solution like the one provided by Asigra, while also doing so – and this is the most important point – via a local vendor, you’re putting yourself in proximity to have that “backup of your backup” to which InformationWeek.com referred.

For instance, TDV Cloud’s clients are all local or regional. Multiple points of backup means that if a business suffered a total data loss, and the prospect of downloading that mission critical data remotely means days of downtime, we can provide a replacement disk with all of that businesses data in a matter of a few hours. At that point, you just plug it in and go. Internet bandwidth is not even in the equation in this situation.

Data recovery from tape in such an instance is not faster or more reliable, even if you have the data tapes onsite. Another point is that a cloud-based solution may be backing up every few minutes, whereas many of our data tape customers do rotations only weekly or monthly, so the recovery with the cloud solution can be more complete.

In addition, when we partnered with Asigra, we tested the cloud product internally against the data tape alternative, and the difference was literally a matter of days for full tape recoveries versus hours for cloud-based. In another instance, an in-house employee accidentally deleted 1,200 files – files he thought were backed up on his computer but weren’t. Our IT manager was able to restore all 1,200 files in a matter of a few minutes.

The point, of course, was that we knew where the backed up data was – and we knew we didn’t have to rely on downloading it through an internet connection. Neither should you if you decide to move toward a cloud-based solution.

This is not to say tape isn’t effective; it absolutely is, and it’s a media that will be with us for a long time to come. But the full truth needs to be told. There’s real benefit in making the move to a cloud-based solution, as long as you find the right solution and you have assurance that your RTO will benefit in the process.

So, to paraphrase that local brewer, we might say something like: “Think globally. Trust locally.”

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