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NetApp Cloud Backup

Backup Modernization: 5 Ways to Modernize Your Backups

What is Backup Modernization?

The digital ecosystem is evolving, and so are backups. Creating an effective backup and recovery strategy requires taking these changes into account.

Data volumes are growing, driven by big data analytics, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. Integrating software development and IT operations into the DevOps model provides new opportunities to integrate backup and recovery routines into other operational functions.

In addition, open-source databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL are growing in popularity, enabling cost reduction and improved scalability. Multi-cloud environments facilitate flexible deployment of applications and other services.

All these trends result in an increasingly diverse portfolio of data, workloads and platforms managed by organizations of all sizes. This diversity will force you to rethink your existing backup and recovery solutions. Modern backup and recovery requires automation, optimization, and consolidation.

This is part of our series of articles about cloud backup.

In this article:

Challenges with On-premises Backup Storage

Organizations that accumulate large amounts of backup data can find it challenging to purchase, provision, manage, and upgrade on-premises backup storage infrastructure.

As backup volumes increase, there is continuous effort and additional costs to scale up the infrastructure. In many cases, organizations pre-pay for a large amount of backup storage and end up not using all of it or running out of storage space unexpectedly.

Here are a few additional challenges of managing backup on-premises:

  • When scaling up backup storage, it might be necessary to shift backup data around. This can lead to missed SLAs and backup failures.
  • To achieve high availability for backup data, it is necessary to add redundant backup storage, and possibly add a remote replication target. This makes the task of monitoring, securing, updating, and managing backup devices more complex.
  • When backup is stored across multiple devices, there is typically a need for specialized management software which has additional costs.
  • Monitoring, managing, and configuring backup storage, and managing everyday maintenance tasks to ensure backup storage is healthy and up to date, requires a major effort.

Such challenges prompt organizations to look for modern ways of paying for, managing, and procuring the storage for their backup data. Organizations also wish to achieve modernization without changing their backup application.

Related content: Read our guide to backup strategy

How to Modernize Backup and Recovery

1. Embrace Cloud for Backup

The cloud is the logical choice for backup. Cloud infrastructure is maintained securely off-premises, is highly scalable, and often priced using pay-as-you-go models. Organizations don’t have to commit to a cloud-based backup strategy fully - you can have some backup in the cloud and some on-premises.

You could begin by saving data to elastic object storage services like Amazon S3. A common next step is to migrate file backups and finally, block storage.

Related content: Read our guide to cloud backup services

2. Backup Must Incorporate Security

Traditionally, backup and security were distinct. This distinction no longer exists. Ransomware attacks have become common, and the primary defense against it is a working backup. At the same time, attackers continually find new ways to infiltrate backups and infect them with malware or ransomware.

If you assume that your systems will someday be breached, recovery is critical. This fact prompts organizations to examine their systems to find how and where they can modernize them, ensuring they are secure in the evolving threat landscape.

Related content: Read our guide to Ransomware Backup

3. Control Data Growth

Modern backup and recovery solutions must be highly scalable, so you don't have to constantly add hardware to support growing workloads. The ability to perform parallel backups along multiple paths between the server and the backup host is very important, especially when dealing with large backup jobs.

Modern backup and recovery methods are commonly incremental - capturing only data that has changed since the last backup - or use advanced data deduplication to ensure that the same data is not backed up multiple times.

Related content: Read our guide to Incremental Backup

In addition, solutions to monitor and evaluate backup data allow administrators to understand how data is being used and how often it is accessed. This enables smarter backup strategies that save the information users actually need, optimizing backup storage.

4. Automate Operations

A high degree of automation is also important for efficient backup and recovery operations. There are two types of automation that can support a modern backup process:

  • Policy-based automation- this allows you to define backup and recovery policies detailing different levels of protection for organizational resources. Policies define how often backups are performed, how long data is retained, and whether data is held locally or remotely.
  • API-based automation- backup solutions can establish an API-level integration with other systems and processes. For example, you can integrate a backup solution with a ticketing system to generate tickets when backup issues occur. You can also integrate a backup system with a cloud provider API, so that every time a new compute instance is created, the appropriate backups are put in place.

5. Streamline Maintenance

In an increasingly diverse environment, backup and recovery must be easy to maintain. One way to ease ongoing maintenance is to use an integrated solution including server, storage, and networking in a single device.

Converged solutions greatly simplify deployment and maintenance, make patching easier, and enable remote maintenance by the appliance vendor. However, converged backup appliances have a high cost, and are increasingly replaced by cloud services that provide similar functionality, do not require a large upfront investment, and also enable streamlined maintenance.

Opt for solutions that enable agentless backup, because installing and updating agents on hundreds or thousands of devices is a major burden, and creates security issues.

Backup Modernization with NetApp Cloud Backup

NetApp understands ONTAP better than anyone else, which is why the best backup solution for ONTAP systems is NetApp Cloud Backup. Designed by NetApp specifically for ONTAP, Cloud Backup automatically creates block-level incremental forever backups. These copies are stored in object format and preserve all ONTAP’s storage efficiencies. Your backups are 100X faster to create, easy to restore, and much more reliable than with any other solution.

Cloud Backup simplifies the entire backup process. It’s intuitive, quick to deploy, and managed from the same console as the rest of the NetApp cloud ecosystem.  Whether you’re looking for a less expensive way to store your backups, a faster, more capable technology than NDMP, or an easy way to enable a 3-2-1 strategy, Cloud Backup offers the best backup solution for ONTAP.

Learn more about the NetApp Cloud Backup capabilities here, and find out more in our Cloud Backup Service Customers’ Case Studies.

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Semion Mazor, Product Evangelist

Product Evangelist