Can enterprises in Australia really backup to the cloud?

Can enterprises in Australia really backup to the cloud?
Neil Smith, Consulting Systems Engineer, NetApp APAC

Over the past several years the cloud has been touted as a low-cost target for organisations to send primary data for backup and archive. Recent research by ESG found that of those organisations surveyed using cloud infrastructure services, 49% are leveraging the cloud for backup and archive data [1]. This demand has driven many backup software vendors to respond by integrating a backup to the cloud capability into their offerings, however does this global trend translate to the Australian market?

It is difficult for research such as this to be relevant to the CIO of an Australian company when local factors are taken into consideration. There have long been reports bemoaning Australia’s poor broadband infrastructure when compared to other OECD countries [2], although the broadband penetration rate across the country has improved, the availability and performance of high speed broadband has lagged behind other developed countries for many years, particularly outside the major capital cities [3]. The result is that the ability for Australian organisations to send primary backup and archive data to the cloud and be able to rapidly recover that data is often hampered by relatively expensive and low bandwidth network connectivity to the cloud.

One of the primary drivers for adopting a backup to the cloud strategy is to lower operational costs and avoid capital expenditure by replacing existing tape backup and archival systems; however such a strategy must continue to meet the recovery point and time objectives of the business. This is where the SteelStore appliance from NetApp can fill the gap created by our poor broadband infrastructure. The SteelStore appliance works by sitting between existing backup applications, including NetApp SnapProtect, and a wide variety of supported cloud storage providers, the scalable local disk cache allows for primary backup data to be rapidly recovered, data is written to cloud storage in a secure encrypted format suitable for long term archive, whilst an inline deduplication and compression engine optimises the use of available bandwidth, and virtual appliances are available to restore data from the cloud in the event of a disaster.

So just how easy is it to setup the SteelStore appliance? The answer is very easy - because there are 3 simple steps; on the SteelStore appliance enter in the credentials and encryption key for your public or private cloud, next setup a new CIFS or NFS file share for your backup application, and finally configure your backup application to use the new file share.

While our politicians argue over broadband policy, Australian organisations can deploy SteelStore in a matter of minutes, lower costs by taking advantage of cloud storage such as Amazon’s S3 and Glacier services (which are available from their Sydney data centre should regulatory compliance be a concern), eliminate tape management headaches, and continue to meet business requirements.

References:

  • ESG Research Report, 2015 IT Spending Intentions Survey, to be published January 2015.
  • Grosso, M. (2006). Determinants of broadband penetration in OECD nations. In Australian Communications Policy and Research Forum.
  • Ewing, S., Rennie, E., & Thomas, J. (2014). Broadband Policy and Rural and Cultural Divides in Australia. Digital Divides: The New Challenges and Opportunities of e-Inclusion, 195, 107.