Why Backup Your Data to Cloud-Based Object Storage?

By Timothy Sherbak | October 31, 2019

Enterprise data backup is a necessity for organizations across industries. Keeping multiple copies of data in multiple places is an IT imperative to avoid having that data lost or destroyed, regardless of the cause. In particular, ransomware attacks are again on the rise as reported in a recent McAfee Labs Threats Report with a 118% increase in attacks since 2018. One top recommendation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) is to review your standard backup practices to protect your data from a crippling ransomware attack.

The number of backup options that organizations have to choose from has never been greater. One storage backup option that uniquely caters to the modern enterprise is object storage. Object storage manages data as objects as opposed to traditional tape or disk-based approaches. Much of object storage’s growing appeal as a backup strategy is driven by its availability as a cloud-based resource. Let’s take a look at the primary benefits of employing cloud object storage as the offsite backup target:

Compatibility with Your In-house Backup Software: When object storage first came onto the scene, backup applications did not support the GET/PUT object storage interface. But with the maturity and integration of object access APIs (i.e., S3) into backup applications and storage platforms, compatible solutions have become widely available from a variety of backup vendors including Dell EMC, CommVault, IBM, Veeam, and Veritas.

Consistent Performance and Scalability: Traditional dual-controller storage systems are inherently deficient when it comes to scaling for deep archives and consolidated backup targets. With object storage, a flat address space and scale-out system architecture provide your cloud provider unlimited scalability and the ability to easily add nodes as storage requirements increase. These nodes expand network bandwidth and computing resources as well as additional storage to meet the new demand, guaranteeing consistent performance for your workloads.

Offsite, Internet Accessible, Over Any Distance: Object storage protocols provide secure, reliable, latency-tolerant communications and connectivity over simple, standard cost-effective Ethernet/Internet links, making them ideally suited to meet the needs of a secondary offsite copy or archive tier far away from your production data center. Plus, authenticated access and data encryption, both in-flight and at rest, protects your data from prying eyes.

Online Data Recovery: Object storage targets are online and fully accessible, integrated directly into your backup software’s interface and catalog structure. These characteristics provide for simple data recovery compared to an offsite tape archive.

Pay as You Grow Economics: With the ability to seamlessly scale performance and capacity by adding additional nodes, object storage lends itself well to cloud pricing models. With object storage backup, you generally pay for the actual storage resources you use, lowering upfront costs and capital outlays.

A potential downside of a cloud-based storage target as compared to offsite tape storage is the bandwidth required to ship backups over the internet or private network. Compression algorithms and data intelligence employed by your backup software do mitigate this overhead; plus, the online recoverability of these backups provides added value.

At Markley, a primary use case of our Object Storage Cloud is as backup targets for our customers whose data center is co-located within our facility. In this case, customers only pay a flat rate charge for cross-connecting to the Markley Cloud. Data movement is 100% unmetered, even when creating a copy to a remote Markley Cloud Point of Presence (PoP), as much as 1500 miles away.

The cost of moving data is another issue to consider when choosing a cloud-based target. Many cloud-based vendors happily store your data at a reasonable cost but then charge handsomely for accessing that data again, especially in the case that you are recovering that data due to the loss of your primary production copy. In contrast, Markley does not charge you for accessing your own data!

Here at Markley, we pride ourselves on our championship-level backup service offerings. With Markley Object Storage Cloud, customers enjoy easy onboarding and support, unmetered data center connectivity, and no data access, egress or API charges. To learn more about Markley’s object storage offerings, please reach out to us at info@markleygroup.com.