Alternatives for Backing Up Cloud-based Servers

When you move your infrastructure into the cloud, how will you move your backup process? You can’t rely on your cloud provider to keep backups for you—the vendor’s goal with backups is to provide high availability, while your business may need to access old data to support development and test, investigate a problem, and satisfy regulatory requirements. Designing a backup process to meet those needs is tougher than it sounds when your servers are offsite.

Challenges When Backing Up Cloud-Based Infrastructure

There are a few main challenges to backing up your cloud infrastructure. First, the backup tools that you use in your data center may not function in public cloud. You also need to decide where to store your cloud backups. If the backup destination isn’t in the same cloud environment, you need to make sure there’s adequate bandwidth to support the data transfers.

Approaches to Backing Up Cloud Servers

You can install backup software on your virtual machines (VMs) in the cloud and control the backups as if they were on local servers. Check your cloud provider’s catalog of compatible third-party software to ensure the backup software will work in the cloud.

There are several approaches you can use to back up VMs in the cloud:

  1. Install a backup agent on the cloud VMs. Once you have backup software installed on those instances, you can back them up the same way as any on-premises server.
  2. Designate additional instances in the cloud as backup servers and copy data to them. This approach has the risk that you won’t be able to access your backup servers if there is a widespread cloud outage. You can mitigate that risk by positioning the backup servers in a different cloud region.
  3. Backup to a VM on an instance managed by another cloud provider. This means adopting a multi-cloud strategy, which can add complexity. While simply backing up files is relatively easy, if you wish to restore from backups and run instances in the second cloud, you need to ensure that all the software will be compatible with both cloud services. Using a second cloud service also means paying for a second cloud service, so cost considerations need to be assessed as well.

How are you handling backups in the cloud? Prescient Solutions IT consulting and managed services help Chicago and Schaumburg-area organizations tackle all the challenges that come with cloud, including backups. Contact us to learn more about the alternatives for creating backups of your instances in the cloud.

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