As more data moves across the Internet to it’s home in the cloud, many are still retaining primary and backup data within physical reach on their servers and backup appliances. This makes good business sense, considering that when disaster strikes the speed of transfer from cloud storage could take days compared to hours for a backup appliance such as our NetSwap NC350 Network Attached Storage (NAS) system. There are two scenarios administrators must plan for: backup and disaster recovery, commonly referred to as BDR.
You can’t tell by looking at the physical connection whether a machine is using iSCSI or a Windows share. Both iSCSI connections and shared Windows hard drives use an Ethernet connection to attach storage. Since they use the same physical connection and network cable, it can be confusing to understand the difference. It used to be that an appliance that “shared” it’s drive was called a NAS (Network Attached Storage), and one that used iSCSI was called a SAN (Storage Area Network). This was because iSCSI was setup by installing a second network card in the server, and a dedicated link or Ethernet network was used for just storage traffic (hence the term storage area network versus local area network). Nowadays it’s not uncommon for even low end NAS devices to support the iSCSI software protocol, so the line can be somewhat blurry.
Backups. They are arguably the least glamorous task for any IT team. And yet, they are also one of the most critical. In fact, according to Gartner, 43% of companies go immediately out of business after a “major loss” of computer records. Even worse, only 6% of companies survive longer than two years after a significant data loss.
Software as a Service (SaaS) applications have become “cloud backup applications”, and are increasingly popular. According to a survey of enterprise customers by Aberdeen Group, around 1/2 of firms are using the cloud for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and email (with Exchange making up 19%). The high adoption rate reflects software manufacturer’s focus on recurring monthly revenue models versus the older sales models where software was purchased with yearly support or maintenance fees. By hosting their applications, software vendors such as Microsoft CRM and Salesforce.com create higher profit margins and create tighter linkage to the end user. This model will eventually diminish, and disintermediate the importance of trusted consultants and IT resellers which account for approximately 30% of the traditional cost of IT.
Like many of you, I’ve viewed the cloud computing backup hype with rolling eyes. Tonight I viewed a presentation by Amazon S3 executive that, while 45 minutes long, I felt was worth sharing. It convinced me the cloud computing backup is coming soon… and it may be something you want to watch in quiet time…