The rise of cloud computing has been driven by a growing demand for agility and scalability, but it also helps address concerns relating to data assurance. Whether you are a large organization or even just a private individual, you want to know that your information is safe and that it won’t be damaged or disappear tomorrow. There are several cloud backup solutions on offer, and you should compare them just as you would insurance policies.
The Importance of Cloud Backup
In the case of a disaster, such as a fire or an earthquake, it is essential to have your data backed up so you can restore operations quickly and at minimal cost to your business. If you store your data locally or on a hard drive, you cannot protect it if the physical hardware is damaged.
Cloud computing enables data storage on a distributed network of servers, which offers additional redundancy so you can retrieve lost data. This is especially true for public clouds, where scale is key for assuring backups. An added advantage is that you can access your files remotely, and you can back up files from any authorized device, so you can both create and restore backups more easily, without the need to physically access the data center. You can store your data safely on the internet using a cloud-based backup solution.
Comparing the Solutions
The leading cloud service providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Each of these providers offers specific cloud backup solutions with various features and capabilities.
AWS is the most popular provider for cloud backup, known for its global access (with 14 data center regions worldwide). Data is stored primarily in the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), which is designed for developers, but you can take advantage of additional backup and restore resources, such as the Elastic Block Store (EBS). AWS data storage options include temporary storage and block storage on EBS, object storage with S3, and archiving with Glacier.
AWS backup solutions offer durability, flexibility and scalability, security and compliance, and a large partner ecosystem with third-party backup solutions. They are also cost-effective, as you only pay for storage, and there are no upfront costs or termination fees. Pricing differs according to region, and there is a cheaper option for Standard Infrequent Access.
The AWS cloud platform is mature and developed and has the most reliable performance of the three. It is also the largest, with over 140 services, but its focus on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) means it has a steeper learning curve.
This cloud platform is particularly suited to Windows users, as it integrates well with other Microsoft products. Azure offers multi-regional storage options, as well as Local Redundant Storage (LRS), which stores multiple backups in a single data center, and Geographically Redundant Storage (GRS), which stores a synchronized backup in a separate data center, providing an additional layer of redundancy.
You can download and deploy the various Azure components on a server or in the cloud, and you can back up any type of data to a Recovery Services vault. Microsoft Azure offers unlimited scaling and data transfer, data encryption, long-term retention, and automatic storage management.
You can better control costs with Azure’s pricing model, which is based on manageable factors such as how much storage you use, how often you access your data, where you are located, and the level of data redundancy you require. Third-party vendors offer lower-priced options using the Azure platform.
Azure is geared towards developers and offers hybrid cloud solutions, and it has more Platform as a Service (PaaS) options than AWS. It is also the fastest cloud solution.
Google is a relative newcomer to the leading cloud giants and is more limited geographically, though it does provide the option of selecting the location of the data center. Google Cloud is well suited to smaller companies that don’t need to use hundreds of programs. However, Google doesn’t offer its own backup system, relying instead on third-party services for backup and recovery.
The Google Cloud Platform unifies a number of cloud offerings, making use of Google Cloud Storage to store large, unstructured datasets. Organizations can purchase storage for either primary (live) or infrequently required data. The various storage class options available make Google Cloud the most scalable of the three. You can choose between regional and multi-regional options, and you can store data that you don’t need to access frequently with Nearline, or archive it with Coldline.
Google Cloud is user-friendly, with high availability and a single application programming interface (API) across storage classes. It also offers advanced data analytics using deep learning and artificial intelligence. The main advantage of Google Cloud Storage, complementing its scalability, is affordability. Google Cloud charges a consistent per-GB rate regardless of how much data you store.
Whether you are seeking to increase your data usage, or you simply want to modernize and better secure your data, you should consider moving to a public cloud storage service, and take advantage of the flexibility and resilience afforded by cloud backup solutions like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. Doing so will give you the peace of mind that even in dire circumstances, you will be able to pick up where you left off.