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Cloud Backup Services

How Cloud Backup Stands Out From Other NetApp's Data Protection Capabilities?

Protecting your data estate from unexpected data loss and corruption is a top priority for any organization. Restoring and recovering data in a timely manner is essential for any company to keep business running smoothly. For this reason, each organization should carefully assess its individual data protection requirements and develop a backup and recovery strategy that aligns with its specific needs. Depending on each organization and its unique needs, this may be an on-premises backup, cloud backup services, or a hybrid solution.

When it comes to securing and recovering your data, it’s also important to use the right tools and services. NetApp offers a selection of native data protection capabilities for ONTAP storage systems, which we covered in detail in our earlier blog about data protection capabilities. In this blog, we’ll look closely at the fully managed Cloud Backup solution, part of BlueXP, and examine how it’s different from native NetApp data protection services.

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NetApp’s Data Protection Capabilities

NetApp has a number of native data protection capabilities that are used to protect ONTAP-hosted data. These capabilities developed over years and provide multiple layers of protection that makes it ideal for different industries and use cases.

Local Data Protection

For quick recovery from data loss or corruption, it’s necessary to have an easily accessible local backup copy from which the data can be quickly and easily restored. NetApp Snapshot™ technology provides point-in-time data protection for ONTAP data volumes. Snapshots are immutable, read-only, and incremental in nature and can be used for quick local restore in the event of data loss. NetApp SnapLock provides protection from the modification or deletion of local data through proprietary WORM (Write Once, Read Many) technology. This protects the local copy of your ONTAP data, on-premises or on the cloud, from malware or ransomware attacks that could tamper with your data.

Replication Mechanisms

In addition to a local copy of your data, you also need a copy in an alternate location in case your primary site becomes unavailable due to a natural calamity or sitewide outages. Here are a few ways to do that using different capabilities:

  • Snapshot copies from primary ONTAP storage (on-premises or cloud) can be replicated to a secondary site ONTAP (on-premises or cloud) using NetApp SnapMirror® technology.
  • SnapMirror Cloud can be used if you want to use object storage for your secondary data copy.
  • If you’re looking for a disk-to-disk replication to secondary ONTAP storage instead of cloud storage then data archiving solution, SnapVault®, will come in handy.

The above-mentioned capabilities provide data protection, security, storage efficiency, and immutability, which can all be leveraged in different enterprise use cases. That said, most organizations require an end-to-end fully managed backup solution, especially when a data estate is spread across multiple clouds as well as hybrid deployments. Cloud Backup provides a comprehensive backup solution that fits the bill for this requirement.

Cloud Backup Distinctive Features

Cloud Backup is the only backup solution tailor-made by NetApp for ONTAP systems, both on-premises and on the cloud. As the solution is custom-built by NetApp for ONTAP systems, it offers the best backup protection compared to other third-party backup solutions. No other solution can protect your storage systems like a first-party backup provided by the storage vendor, which, in this case, is NetApp for ONTAP.

Let’s take a look at how the Cloud Backup service architecture works and how it’s different from the standalone local backup and data replication capabilities we discussed earlier.

NetApp Features Integration

Cloud Backup uses block-level incremental backups and leverages NetApp technologies such as Snapshot, SnapMirror Cloud, and SnapCenter®. It’s also interoperable with SnapLock technology to ensure the immutability of protected data volumes. All these integrations are built-in and can be leveraged without any additional operational overhead so that you can benefit from a centralized managed service for the backup process of different types of ONTAP environments.

Enhanced Security

NetApp cloud backup helps organizations align with a 3-2-1 backup strategy, where organizations want to keep three copies of data, using two media types to store the data, and have one copy stored off-site. With object storage integration, data is stored in a different format on an offsite location, such as in the cloud or on a different on-premises location using StorageGRID®, adding an additional layer of air-gapped security protection. With cloud object storage integration, Cloud Backup supports petabytes scale and eliminates the need for advanced capacity planning, especially for large data estates.

Independent from ONTAP Cluster

The backup configuration and management is done centrally and independently of the ONTAP cluster. This helps achieve segregation of data and control plane for backup and ensures end-to-end security at all levels.

Longer Retention Time

Backup strategy involving a secondary ONTAP system has limitations in terms of scalability and retention policy management. Cloud Backup helps overcome these limitations by configuring longer retention periods (4,000 snapshots) and leveraging the flexible retention policy configuration options the service offers.

Why Cloud Backup Stands Out From Native Options

NetApp data protection capabilities were built-in as part of the ONTAP storage management requirements. By contrast, Cloud Backup is a fully-fledged managed backup solution and brings its own unique capabilities to the table.

Indexed Catalog

One of the major challenges during data restoration is locating specific files or folders to be restored. This is especially true when there’s a large amount of data and many backup copies available, making it difficult to browse and restore individual files. This is where Cloud Backup’s native indexed catalog feature stands out. It offers a Google-like search and restore functionality that can search the file metadata using attributes such as partial/full file name, file creation date, size, and file path to find the right file to restore. The indexed catalog uses cloud-native services like Azure Synapse, AWS Athena, and Google Cloud BigQuery in the backend for implementation, ensuring it’s optimized for cloud operations.

Single File Restore

In addition to volume-level restore, Cloud Backup also supports single-file restore operations. You can either do a direct restore of files from a backup copy or use indexed catalog capability to search and restore specific files.

Application Aware Backups

Through SnapCenter integration, users can configure application aware backups for their enterprise applications and databases, which can help speed up the recovery process. For example, you can easily restore a copy of enterprise databases to bring services back online instead of restoring entire volumes and reconfiguring applications. This feature is available for all applications supported by SnapCenter such as Oracle, SQL Server, SAP HANA, and more.

Centralized Management

BlueXP offers a centralized management console for ONTAP systems deployed across on-premises, cloud, hybrid, or multicloud environments. The same BlueXP console is used for backup and restore configurations, providing a much-needed single-pane view of your environments.

Ransomware Protection

In addition to integrating ONTAP storage immutability offered by SnapLock, Cloud Backup is also interoperable with native cloud storage WORM capabilities using the DataLock feature. Therefore, backup copies stored in destination object storage become immutable and indelible, protecting them from malicious ransomware attacks.

Cost-Effective Backups

Cloud Backup maintains all NetApp-native storage efficiencies, helping you reduce your backup storage footprint. It also supports integration with low-cost cloud object storage, including archival tiers that further bring down the backup cost. Archival tiers are especially suitable if you’re looking to store backup copies for a longer duration of time for audit and compliance purposes.

Hassle-Free Enterprise Data Protection from Cloud Backup and BlueXP

NetApp offers many advanced capabilities to protect data stored in ONTAP systems. However, Cloud Backup stands out as a fully managed backup solution independent of your ONTAP infrastructure. It offers a full spectrum of features that are required of an enterprise backup solution, making it an ideal choice for organizations searching for the most efficient way to back up and restore their data estates with minimal interruption.

Learn more in these Cloud Backup Customers Case Studies.

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Semion Mazor, Product Evangelist

Product Evangelist