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Cloud Based Backup Storage

Cloud Based Backup Storage – Failure to back up data stored in cloud block storage services can be lost forever if not properly backed up. This article explains how object storage works differently than block storage, and how it provides better built-in protection.

Every cloud provider offers object storage services, including Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), Azure’s Blob Store, and Google’s Cloud Storage.

Cloud Based Backup Storage

Cloud Based Backup Storage

Think of an object storage system as a file system without a hierarchy of directories and subdirectories. Where a file system uses a combination of directory structure and filename to identify and locate files, each object stored in an object storage system gets a unique identifier (UID) based on its contents.

Cloud Backup, Storage And File Sharing

UIDs are then used as a way to identify and retrieve objects. UIDs are created by running the file contents through an encryption algorithm such as SHA-1. (To understand how SHA-1 works, you can create your own SHA-1 hash here by inserting any amount of text.) Any item, such as a file, a block, a set of files or blocks, or a portion of a block or file , which can be stored as an object.

A huge difference between object storage and block storage is that every object stored in object storage is automatically replicated to at least three Availability Zones. This means that a natural disaster or other disaster could take over two Availability Zones and you would still have any data stored in the object storage system. It typically replicates only within a single Availability Zone, so a single large outage can corrupt data.

Replication also works very differently. Object replication is done at the object level, not the block level replication of cloud block storage and typical RAID systems.

Objects are also never modified. If an object needs to be modified, it is just stored as a new object. If versioning is enabled, previous versions of objects are saved for historical purposes. If not, simply delete the previous version. This is very different from block storage, where files or blocks are edited in-place, and previous versions never save unless you use some kind of extra protection system.

How To Replace Tape Backup With A Virtual Tape Library In The Aws Cloud

Cloud vendors offer object storage services, including Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), Azure’s Blob Store, and Google’s Cloud Storage. These object storage systems can be set up to withstand regional disasters that can even destroy all availability zones.

Amazon does this using cross-region replication that must be configured by the customer. Microsoft geo-redundant storage includes cross-region replication, while Google offers dual-region and multi-region storage to do the same. Combined with the versioning capabilities built into all object storage systems, this makes data stored in such systems more resilient than in block storage systems from any of these vendors.

Block volumes and file systems are designed for performance, whereas object storage is designed with data integrity as the primary goal. For example, a unique identifier can be used at any time to ensure that a given copy of an object has not been corrupted. All the system has to do is rerun the object through the process that created the unique identifier. If the UID is still the same, the contents of the object have not changed. If the content of the object has changed due to bit rot or other reasons, the system will automatically detect it because the UID will change. It can then automatically repair the object by retrieving a good copy from another area. No block device or filesystem I know of has this level of data integrity built in.

Cloud Based Backup Storage

Object storage has suffered greatly due to the so-called open-bucket issue, where important and sensitive data is stored in a bucket whose permissions are not properly managed. (Think of a bucket as a very large container containing related objects.)

How Does Backup As A Service Differ From Cloud Storage?

Large customer databases have been exposed through this problem, mainly because customers simply don’t understand how object storage works. It’s certainly possible to create an open bucket, as it allows you to easily distribute files to many people by simply giving them a direct link to that object. But it also means it’s relatively easy to create an open bucket and accidentally leak your trade secrets to the world.

A simple Google search for best practices from your favorite object storage vendor will get you the resources you need to do the right thing. For example, this page from Amazon offers common-sense advice like disabling public access and rewrite permissions for everyone. Microsoft also has a best practices page, as does Google. You should also be able to find many third-party articles to guide you.

A common recommendation is to identify only the access rights required for a given application, grant that level of access, and nothing more. It might be much easier to simply grant each application full access to the object bucket, but it’s a security disaster waiting to happen. Also consider role-based administration, which can be used to easily grant and revoke access as needed.

Deciding whether to back up object storage is not as simple as whether to back up block volumes. Unlike block volumes, object storage automatically includes many levels of protection against all kinds of things that could harm your company, including optional write-once-read-many (WORM) protection. If you follow all the best practices available (including cross-region replication), you’ll likely be arguing that under no circumstances will all of your data go away and cause you to make a backup. A data protection expert can help develop a sound strategy.

Online Data Storage Backup

Having said that, it’s hard to argue with those who say object storage services are still written by people who make mistakes. They will say that if data residing in object storage is mission critical, you should back it up.

It’s worth mentioning that there are many ways to do this. For example, you can use a completely different service level for backups (AWS Glazier Deep Archive, Azure Archive Storage, or Google Coldline) to keep a “just in case” copy of the object’s data. If your data is so important, then you should consider backing it up this way and make sure it’s in a different account and region, just like with block storage.

Block volumes need to be backed up, so make sure you’re backing them up. Block storage snapshots should also be replicated to another region and account. Object storage provides a higher level of resiliency because it is automatically replicated to multiple Availability Zones. But be aware that nothing is foolproof, so take this information and make your own decision.

Cloud Based Backup Storage

W. Curtis Preston is an expert in backup, storage and recovery who has been working in the field since 1993. He has been an end user, consultant and analyst and recently joined the team at company.editors, a cloud-based data protection company Druva, to independently select and review products. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn a commission, which helps support our testing.

Cloud Backup Images

Backing up your data is no longer the nightmare it once was. Cloud backup services make the backup process even easier, easily replacing the cryptic tape backup solution that was once the only game. Cloud backup is cheaper, more direct, and more secure than most on-premises solutions.

In the cloud model, all your IT manager needs to do is make sure that (a) all your target devices, whether disks, PCs, phones, or servers; (b) those targets have internet connectivity. After that, you will schedule and test from the central console, and each device can download the required client software over the network. You can even automate this task in a few different ways. So why do small and medium businesses (SMBs) still often neglect backup?

Because even with the cloud’s new simplicity, effective backup often requires more than signing up to a single provider. Backups need to closely match the specific needs of each organization. This means planning and implementation is complicated, so most business managers avoid it.

This is a problem because adequate data backups are used now more than ever. Disasters aren’t just natural, like a storm destroying your office. They could also be disgruntled employees who hit the “delete” button when they shouldn’t, or have your business infected with one of several nasty malware. In all of these cases, having previous versions of company, customer, and employee data can mean the difference between a minor delay and a major crash.

Cloud Backup Storage Illustration Of Computer System For Information Sharing, Hosting, Saving, Copying File, Server, And Data Center 2309899 Vector Art At Vecteezy

Plus, backing up your data lets you get up and running if your endpoint protection software determines there’s a breach. Some malware even requires excellent backups to beat. Ransomware is the best example. This type of malware usually hijacks your data

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