1 The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Backup Enterprise-class Storage & Backup t: +44 (0) w:
2 WHO are 4sl? the facts Around backup The UK s leading independent backup and recovery experts, 4sl provides consulting and managed services to FTSE100 and Fortune Global 500 companies. We employ more consultants and engineers accredited in the enterprise backup technologies than any other company in the UK, and consult to a number of leading software vendors, system integrators and outsourcers. Our head office is in London and we also operate in the US and Singapore and India. We manage environments from 10 to up to 10,000 servers round the clock across 15 time zones as far afield as Alaska, Brazil, South Africa and the Far East. We are an accredited G-Cloud supplier. Independence We cover all the key software platforms but we remain impartial Specialism We live and breathe backup, whether it s our project services or providing a managed service our job is to ensure the highest level of service DATA GROWTH Two thirds are experiencing data growth of at least 40% per annum REFRESH One in three enterprises are looking to refresh their backup infrastructure in the next 3 years 34% 33% 40% 10% OUTAGE 18% of firms experience at least one total outage of their backup environment per month 18% 75% 43% 20% RECOVERY 43% of companies experiencing disasters never recover OVERRUN One in five firms experiences at least one backup overrun each week Depth We employ the largest independent group of accredited engineers and consultants in the UK Quality With our roots in the enterprise, we never compromise on service levels FAILURE 34% of companies fail to test their tape backups, and of those that do, 77% have found tape back-up failures OFF-SITING 1 in 10 companies doesn t move their tapes away from their production site BACKUP COSTS 75% do not know what backup costs and a further 12% say they have only some idea How we work with clients We offer 30day trials of both our Cloud Backup and Cloud Archiving services. 30day trials Backup Healthchecks Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) assessments Leading causes of Data Loss 44% 3% 21% 32% HARDWARE FAILURE HUMAN ERROR SOFTWARE CORRUPTION & VIRUSES NATURAL DISASTER
3 Contents is this guide right for me? Not quite sure if this guide is right for you? If you are experiencing any of the issues below or simply want to find out more about the benefits and how to transition your backup to a cloud solution then this guide is for you. Legacy approaches to backup...1 enter the cloud...2 Why you should be considering cloud backup...3 understanding the total cost of ownership things to look for in a cloud backup provider...5 How to get into the cloud...6 You have a poorly performing backup environment and need help. You have ageing technology in need of refresh and would like options. Faced with spiralling data growth you would like to understand how a an on-demand solution will help. You are fed up with vendor stranglehold. An opex model is attractive and want to learn more about ways to break the capitalintensive spending cycle. You have no idea what your backup currently costs you. Tapes - there has got to be a better way. You re worried that when the call comes you wont actually be able to recover your data from your old tapes. Why Cloud, Why Backup, why now? Why cloud? Well it s where the market is heading. Companies are realising that the adoption of cloud services and infrastructure allows them to concentrate on their core business by handing over their IT needs to suppliers. Why Backup? It s a well-established function, tightly-defined and can stand in relative isolation from other IT services. This proves an ideal candidate to pick off in manageable phases and pilot with limited risk. Why now? Reducing cost is a key driver for many and with the rise in acceptance of cloud solutions, there has never been a better time. 40% 40% of the backup market of $30bn is expected to move into the cloud by 2016 (Gartner)
4 Chapter 1 What do we mean by Backup? Legacy approaches to backup This guide discusses server backup, although much of it also applies to end-user backup (devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones) which companies are increasingly looking to protect as data moves towards the fringes of the organisation. The market for end-user cloud backup is flooded with suppliers, most offering solutions using proprietary technologies. Server cloud backup on the other hand is much more involved as it necessitates protecting not just files but operating environments (physical and virtual), applications and databases. Whilst the data protection principles may be the same, the execution of server backup and recovery is fundamentally more demanding and that explains why there are very few software products that can be considered truly enterpriseclass. Equally there are few suppliers offering a cloud service that meets the needs of the enterprise. Replicating storage is not backup. One further point: we encounter companies surprisingly often that replicate their SAN and believe that this is backup. It isn t. Backup is about preserving iterations of information assets for as long as an organisation needs for its own purposes and to stay compliant with the law. Replication doesn t do this, and whatever happens in the production environment changes, deletions, virus infections gets mirrored. traditional approaches to backup Backup is undoubtedly one of the veterans of the IT industry. It s been with us since the mainframe era and is carried out today in largely the same fashion as it was 50 years ago: dedicated onsite hardware writes data to tapes, which are then transported to a Disaster Recovery site or long term storage. When data must be restored, the process takes place in reverse. Seem a bit archaic in the age of universal interconnectivity? The biggest innovation backup has seen over the last half century is the advent of the Virtual Tape Library (VTL) which, in some circumstances, can be used to replace tape. However, even VTLs have their limitations for long-term retention and have not changed the fundamental way of provisioning backup and recovery; specialist software, computing resource to run it, tape libraries or VTLs, tapes, transport and storage, and staff to manage the process. Most firms still operate backup in house and over three quarters still use tape. The findings you ll read in this guide come from a variety of research: surveys, the results of our online healthcheck, and anecdotally from clients we work with. There s plenty of commentary around the industry too, of course. But before we consider where backup is heading, let s cast an eye over the landscape as it is today and take a look at the problems organisations are facing.
5 the problems organisations are facing Speed Tape is still the favoured storage medium for 77% of companies. It is desperately slow once you factor in data checking after write, transport to and from storage and therefore day-today restores tend to take days rather than the seconds that are possible with disk-based systems. Even when tapes are returned, manual retrieval means there s no guarantee they will contain the desired data; this problem simply doesn t feature with disk. Average success ranges from 86-93%. The industry-accepted benchmark is Risk 95%. Backup s primary function is providing the ability to recover from a disaster, and it is neither quick nor straightforward: in fact, it s sufficiently challenging that many organisations simply bury their heads in the sand and don t test DR. A shocking 54% of companies completing our online healthcheck admit they never bother testing, up from around a third of respondents in our 2011 survey. That means, quite simply, that they have no idea whether they could recover, let alone how long it would take. Security Performance If you have to pick one measure as a litmus test of the process, it s backup success: that is, the proportion of servers which have successfully backed up over a given timeframe (usually 24 hours). 95% is the industry-accepted benchmark but we find that around half of firms fail to hit it; average success ranges from 86-93%. Transporting tapes is not risk free, especially if they are not encrypted, and only a quarter of firms do this. That means 75% are moving tapes around knowing that their sensitive data could be read if the tapes were mislaid or stolen. Perhaps more worrying still, a small proportion of companies we researched don t even bother moving their tapes away from their production systems how such an approach constitutes part of a credible Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is utterly bewildering, not to mention the legal risks. Would you want to be a shareholder in such a company? Reliability Tapes are perceived as the robust, tried-and-tested option that s been around for years. But in reality failure rates of individual tapes can be as high as 70%; compared to the redundancy that can be built into disk, tape s validity as the cast-iron medium of choice is no more. Obsolescence Unlike generic disk, tapes and tape libraries are made by relatively few vendors and there is no universal standard. Every time a library or tape type becomes obsolete, it must be upgraded. That in turn necessitates either the costly process of migrating data to the newer standard or, more likely, replacing tape libraries and living with the fact that the recovery of older data is more problematic and less likely to work. Vendor lock in Hardware vendors have been making hay for decades thanks to the paucity of alternatives to the traditional approach. Data growth is manna from heaven: every time a storage array or VTL fills up, the backup environment grinds to a halt, and the owner is forced to invest in more capital equipment and another round of support contracts (and may have to tactically expire data early just to create space). The same is true to a lesser extent with backup software and increased licensing resulting from server estate growth. Retention Data protection legislation in the UK is far from simple, with multiple Acts covering the topic. One piece of statute applying to all organisations is the retention of employee-related records such as payroll, which must be kept for 6 years. However, two thirds of firms keep their data for less than a year and half of those keep it for less than 90 days. Cost 70% The failure rates of individual tapes can be as high as 70% Our research shows that the vast majority of firms admit they do not know what backup costs, and only 1 in 8 has some idea. The true cost of operating backup is surprising, once all the contributing elements are considered. Take resource costs: even a company with a small data footprint needs two or three people with the appropriate skills to operate the service. Our TCO calculator is a first step towards uncovering the reality (see How to get into the cloud towards the end of the guide).
6 Chapter 2 enter the cloud The term has been around for several years and most people have a decent grasp of what it s about, so there s no need to redefine it here. Cloud can mean many things in many different scenarios, but the immutable features are: In essence it is a utility where consumption should be easily varied up or down and it should be consumed like one, a point made eloquently by Simon Wardley in his short presentation Cloud Computing - Why IT Matters. It can be found fairly easily on Youtube. Some or all aspects of the service are supplied remotely So what exactly does this mean for backup? To meet the criteria above, all the elements - hardware, storage, software, connectivity, support and management - must be wrapped together and presented through a single pane of glass to the buyer. As the physical components are buried within the service and no longer owned by the buyer, there must also be a service level to define in some detail what the buyer is getting, as well as a pay-as-you-go pricing structure. Anything less is not a true cloud. Public, private or hybrid - what s the difference? One of the most important considerations for adopters is security and whether to go down the path of public, private or hybrid. What do we mean by these terms in the context of backup? Let s start at the ultra-secure private end: it may offer little in the way of the economies and flexibility typically associated with cloud but it is nevertheless conceivable. Taken to extreme, the solution could entail dedicated caged racks in the supplier s datacentre holding dedicated compute and storage, dedicated lines to the buyer s datacentre and appliances therein. One could even imagine part of the supplier s support team being dedicated to the buyer. Such a solution wears so few of the badges of cloud, the term seems a misnomer. At the other end of the spectrum is the truly public cloud where nothing is dedicated to the buyer and all aspects are shared with other users: data would be transmitted over the internet, and not only would the infrastructure be shared but the buyer would not even know where their data was stored. In reality of course this is just as unlikely as the ultra-private cloud because organisations do care indeed they are legally bound by where their data resides. It is this concern that deters companies from using very low cost storage services offered by Amazon and Google, for example. A credible model is therefore always going to be somewhere in between: a hybrid. For speed of restore, appliances in the buyer s datacentre are the ubiquitous private element. Dedicated racks, compute and storage at the supplier s end, and dedicated lines, provide further privacy options.
7 why is backup particularly suited to the cloud? It s is a great candidate (and easy to pilot, PoC etc.) for the cloud approach for a number of reasons: Maturity Backup is a well-established function and the pieces of the jigsaw don t require any great technological innovation to make the whole thing work. Cloud backup is pioneering only in the sense that it is a new way of doing something that is already understood; it can therefore be considered low risk. Cost It s getting cheaper. The price of disk one of the major components of the total cost has been falling rapidly relative to tape, making tape-based solutions less and less desirable. Second, the price of enterprise software another significant contributor has also been dropping. Both trends show no sign of abating. Connectivity Improving internet bandwidth is the first of these two significant enablers: moving large packets of data that would have been unthinkable ten years ago is now perfectly feasible and doesn t cost the earth. De-duplication And the size of those packets has been dropping too. Client-side de-duplication is now a standard feature of enterprise technologies and its effect is to dramatically reduce the volume of data that has to be transmitted during each backup. The double whammy of improving connectivity and de-duplication, allied to falling disk costs, is why tape s uses are being marginalised. Standalone The backup process can be neatly defined in terms of its points of interaction with core systems, and the service levels required to describe it. Furthermore the solution is broadly homogenous with respect to the size of the buyer s environment. The biggest issues a cloud adopter faces are ensuring retention policies are fit for purpose and figuring out what to do about legacy tapes (more on that later). Measurability Only a handful of metrics are needed to define the performance of the backup function and therefore a supplier s proposition should be relatively easy to compare to an in-house operation in order to make an informed decision. Enterprise-class Software Comparison Symantec NetBackup Strengths - The market share leader. Features such as Backup Accelerator, Replication Director and enhancements to Ops Center are a return to greater development investment. Weaknesses - Customer concerns of de-duplication rehydration performance as well as setup and config issues with Sharepoint agent. Perception of issues with customer support Commvault Simpana Strengths - Offers the broadest support for integrating with storage hardware replication and snapshots Mature source and target-side de-duplication Broad support for virtual environments including granular recovery for apps running in a VM Weaknesses - Needs improved reporting and a dashboard for monitoring large numbers of backup jobs. Quality of field support EMC Networker (formerly Legato) Strengths - Rejuvenated with code sharing and VMware support from Avamar, and improved customer support, bringing updated capabilities to the enterprise The storage industry s largest sales force. Ease of exit Cloud is about flexibility and that means getting out as easily as getting in. Contracts notwithstanding, the process of reverting to in-house provision or switching suppliers is no more of a challenge than implementing it in the first place. Utility pricing Weaknesses - A fully integrated design with other products in the EMC suite is not yet available. HP DataProtector Strengths - Solid functionality including snapshot management of HP, EMC and NetApp storage arrays. Granular Recovery Extension single-item recovery for Sharepoint, Exchange and VMware, and federated de-duplication. Aggressively priced. Weaknesses - Client frustration with support. Some customers cite usability and management as areas for improvement. IBM TSM Strengths - Offers midsize to large enterprise end-to-end recovery The first to offer incremental forever backup and no-charge data reduction and reporting features. Customers cite the scalability, code quality and strong support as reasons for choosing. Weaknesses - Server virtualisation support is yet to be delivered In contrast to the other providers, snapshot and replication is still largely IBM-centric Federated TSM server management, load balancing are yet to be provided. Source: Info-Tech Research Group Every CIO, IT Director and IT Manager s mandate is to do more for less, and in particular to reduce capital outlay. Backup can be easily measured and therefore priced in terms of the volume of data, making it the ideal utility service.
8 Chapter 3 Why you should be considering cloud backup It s where the market is going - More and more companies are realising that the adoption of cloud allows them to concentrate on their core business by handing over their IT needs to suppliers. Outsourcing has always held the attraction of service levels and cost that organisations can t achieve internally, but cloud provides something extra: it turns the traditional capital-intensive IT procurement cycle into a flexible operating cost one that can go down as well as up. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gartner predicts that 40% of the global backup market is expected to move into the cloud by It enables you to move other services into the cloud - Disaster Recovery is the most obvious example, but there are others for which backup is a stepping stone. For firms with aggressive Recovery Time Objectives (RTO), a hybrid cloud solution with secondary appliances in the DR location means that a recent set of backups can sit next to your DR infrastructure on a high-speed LAN. This is a far cheaper option than real time replication and instant failover, but still offers recovery of key business systems within hours. 55% of CIOs surveyed recently by Gartner are undertaking DR upgrade initiatives. More than 4 out of 5 are targeting <4 hour RTO for missioncritical services. Increase performance AND save money - Cloud backup is typically 10-40% cheaper than the TCO of running in house (more on that later) as well as offering improved service levels through high backup success rates and negligible long-term failures. Break the cycle of vendor lock-in - By wrapping all the components up as a service, the seemingly endless capexintensive procurement cycle with the same suppliers can be averted. Security - Encryption is now a run-of-themill feature for enterprise solutions. Data gets encrypted at source and remains that way throughout its lifecycle. Security should therefore be considered an enabler to cloud, rather than a potential blocker, as the risk of breach compared to the transport and storage of non-encrypted tapes is far lower. One less management overhead - One of the key benefits. You no longer need to worry about managing the backup operation, reporting, data growth, capacity, kit refresh or having enough tapes as the entire function becomes the supplier s responsibility. Speed of restore - Onsite appliances are the crucial piece of the cloud backup jigsaw, providing restores as fast as your network can deliver them for anything up to a month s backups. I hear backup appliances are the next big thing. Why don t I just get one of those? No doubt about it, they contain some smart technology, but they don t take away the problem of managing the process that s still up to you. So is capacity management; if the appliance fills up, you ll need a new one. And your cost base is still for the most part fixed, not variable. Cloud backup is fundamentally different: it s a service, not a product. Fewer suppliers to manage - With all responsibility in the hands of the provider, the overhead of managing multiple contracts for support, upgrades and maintenance is no more.
9 Chapter 4 understanding the total cost of ownership More, more, more. That s the persistent message from vendors. With average annual data growth running at around 40%, the traditional approach to backup means more capital expenditure on servers, VTLs, tape libraries and software, escalating procurement of tapes and a bigger management headache. With IT budgets under a perennial squeeze in today s economic headwinds, the situation is not sustainable. Something has to give. Do you know how much your backup and recovery environment costs your business? Are you aware of all the components that contribute to that cost? Only by understanding your current TCO can you compare the savings that can be realised by an on-demand opex approach to backup. Reduced total cost of ownership Cloud backup is cheaper than traditional in-house tape-based backup primarily for two reasons. The price of disk one of the major components of the total cost has been falling rapidly relative to tape, making tape-based solutions less and less desirable. Second, the price of data capacity licensing used in cloud solutions has also been dropping versus the price of traditional perserver licensing under an in-house solution. Both trends show no sign of abating. But there is a second effect at work too: the size of a supplier s infrastructure means it can offer economies of scale which buyers particularly at the smaller end of the spectrum cannot attain. Small Enterprise 1.75 per gig per month Medium Enterprise 1.15 per gig per month Large Enterprise 0.85 per gig per month 50 servers 10TB 1 staff (8x5 service) 2 backup servers 1 tape library 20 tapes per month + storage Cloud saving: 71% 200 servers 30TB 4 staff (24x7 service) 4 backup servers 1 tape library, 1 VTL 70 tapes per month + storage Cloud saving: 56% servers 150TB 10 staff (24x7 service) 8 backup servers 2 tape library, 2 VTLs 500 tapes per month + storage Cloud saving: 41% Every environment is different, so work with your supplier to understand what your current TCO is, what a legacy refresh approach will cost, and provide you with options to break the cycle of ever-increasing spend on hardware.
10 Chapter 5 10 things to look for in a cloud backup provider #1 Do they understand your priorities? Before embarking on the search for a supplier, consider the relative importance of cost, flexibility, security and service levels. Recognise that the usual trade-off applies to these drivers just as it does in any aspect of IT provision. Paradoxically, a barrier preventing organisations moving into the cloud is knowing there s flexibility to get out. If the ability to exit is your major concern, make sure the path is as clear and straightforward as the onboarding process. The supplier will have up-front equipment and resource costs which need to be recouped over the course of the contract, so offering you flexibility will either inflate the operating cost or cause you to pay a significant setup fee. Chopping and changing suppliers is never desirable, so if you can sign up for a multi-year deal, you should be able to mitigate most or all of the cost of change and keep the running cost down. If cost is your main driver, look for reduced service levels such as business-hours only monitoring and limits to the number of day-to-day restores. Establish retention policies which are draconian about deleting old backups that you do not need. Security is of course vital, but how secure? A public cloud solution will always be more cost effective than private, so decide just how private it needs to be. Dedicated links, racks at the supplier s datacentre, storage and compute power will not come cheap. #2 Do they offer a pilot? Because backup is a tightly-defined function and can stand in relative isolation from other IT services, it is well suited to a pilot. Ask to dip a toe in the water for a period of at least a month. If your environment is larger, perhaps 100 servers or more, then a limited-scope pilot should still be perfectly feasible, allowing you to sample the new service in parallel with your existing backup operation and develop trust in the new supplier. #3 Data retention options to suit your needs There are over 100 pieces of legislation in the UK alone which cover data retention, so setting the right policy is not a trivial task. Your supplier must provide options for defining different datasets and retaining them for varying periods, but don t confuse that with guaranteeing your compliance with the law. Making sure the policies are right is still your responsibility. 58% of companies back up their data under a single policy 58% For larger enterprises, the opposite is often the case: tens or even hundreds of uncoordinated policies and no defined service catalogue. This is a fundamental failure to understand what the business requires.
11 #4 How does the restore work? Unless your company has astronomical internet bandwidth, onsite appliances need to be part of the solution to provide rapid restores, otherwise you ll be waiting as long as you might for tapes to get files back. Check that the supplier is factoring in sufficient data growth so that they won t need to install more appliances after the service is up and running. In the event they do, make sure the cost is embedded in the normal monthly charge. Also ask how restores are requested and how the supplier ensures that files are only provided to those who are entitled to them. #5 What happens if we have a disaster? Disaster recovery (DR) testing is the cornerstone of a credible Business Continuity Plan and contributing to it must be part and parcel of the service. Ensure the contract includes a set number of DR tests and agree with the supplier their responsibilities towards achieving your Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and a Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Proper planning can take your BCP forward leaps and bounds through implementation of cloud backup. #6 The SLA is your insurance policy The time when IT companies could get away with providing services without contracted service levels and penalty clauses is well and truly over. Look for an SLA that s written in plain English and only a page or so long. A cloud supplier should be able to define a sensible number of service levels to measure the quality of the service as well as set out clearly the credits payable if targets are not hit. Any supplier that cannot offer a robust SLA doesn t have conviction in what they are offering. As a minimum, the SLA should include service availability, backup success, long-term backup failures, restore response times, and responsibilities and target timeframes in case of a disaster. #7 Expertise Many well-known outsourcers will tell you they can offer a service, although unearthing just how cloudy it really is means asking probing questions. What hardware and software is it based on? Do they have the specialists to deliver it or is it just another offering in their portfolio? Can you see examples of actual service performance reports? Can you trial it? What other services do they offer around backup? One well-known outsourcer offers cloud backup through G-Cloud (the UK public sector online procurement portal) but in fact subcontracts the service to another firm. #8 Datacentres In theory, the location of the supplier s datacentres shouldn t matter as this is cloud, but in reality any sensible buyer wants the assurance of knowing where their data is and that it s physically protected. Check the supplier s facilities are Tier 3 or Tier 4 datacentres; ask for a tour and verify that their security measures do what they are supposed to do. #9 What software is it running on? There are only a handful of vendor products in Gartner s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and for good reason. Features such as 128-bit or higher encryption, de-duplication, snapshots and support for virtual environments, databases and applications should now be considered an absolute minimum requirement. #10 Reporting How does the supplier intend to report on performance? An enterprise-class service should include daily reporting and cover all the metrics in the SLA. Ideally it should be delivered online to allow multiple interested parties (like your CIO) access to realtime information. Ask for periodic face-to-face service reviews at which you can cover items not present in daily reports such as service improvement recommendations and DR tests. Two thirds of organisations don t report on backup performance at all
12 Chapter 6 How to get into the cloud Assess your backup performance Complete our free online healthcheck to get your rating out of 100, as well as tailored recommendations and benchmarking against the industry in a 2-page report. For larger firms with environments over 250 servers, consider a full onsite Audit. The cost is refundable against any recommended remedial work you ask us to carry out. We cover all the recognised enterprise technologies. Work out the business case so you can sell the idea internally What does backup cost and how much could you save? What are the financial implications on moving to the cloud? Consider in particular the expiry of licences and equipment writedowns you may need to get some budget for the latter. Our experiences in analysing the cost of backup range from environments of 10 to 10,000 servers; the approach is simple to follow and described in our Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) assessment. Dip a toe in the water with a pilot The beauty of backup is that you can run two processes in parallel. Clearly you don t want to be doing this for too long as it places an extra load on your infrastructure, not to mention the overhead of managing one process and observing the performance of a second. Test cloud backup on at least part of your environment before taking the plunge. Analyse your data and make sure your policies are appropriate Storing data unnecessarily means incurring cost you can do without, and this applies ASSESS PILOT SOLUTION FOR OLD TAPES 1 in the cloud just as it does with proprietary solutions. Compliance with the law is even more important, so use the move to cloud as an opportunity to review your data, how long you are retaining it and develop a small number of policies that your cloud partner can implement. Work out what to do with your tapes Retaining your legacy data is an important consideration, but so is minimising costs. The simplest solution is to keep a skeleton backup environment operational for restores and move the tapes to long term storage until the data expires and can be deleted. Migrating legacy backups to disk to get it all in one place is feasible, but significantly more expensive. Realise those cost savings! WORK OUT THE BUSINESS CASE ANALYSE YOUR DATA REALISE THE COST SAVINGS Once cloud backup is live, get after the savings by decommissioning backup servers and tape libraries and freeing up datacentre space. Terminate hardware and software maintenance and tape storage agreements. Redeploy staff.
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