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Are cloud backups enterprise-ready?

Is cloud backup enterprise-ready? What are the limitations?

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Cloud backups by themselves are not truly enterprise ready. There are a number of limitations preventing cloud backups from being a practical standalone backup solution. The most prevailing of these limitations is Internet bandwidth. Bandwidth limitations can make the initial synchronization process extremely slow. Even if cloud seeding is used to bypass the initial synchronization process, differential backups can still be impractical for organizations that accumulate data rapidly, or make a lot of changes to existing data. After all, newly created and modified data has to be uploaded to the cloud and often times the available bandwidth simply is not adequate for the job. Organizations performing cloud backups might also run into limitations from their Internet Service Providers. Although rarely advertised, almost all Internet service providers will throttle bandwidth consumption as a way of limiting the amount of data that is transferred each month.

Cloud backups were originally only suited to performing file-level backups, and they were only a viable option for the smallest organizations. However, cloud backups are beginning to mature and some cloud backup providers have started to offer include things like bare-metal recovery capabilities, application awareness, system-state recovery capabilities, and the ability to backup open files. It is also worth noting that some backup vendors have begun including cloud storage capabilities within their on-premise backup solutions. These types of backup applications have the ability to create a traditional backup and then make a copy of that backup to the cloud.

This was first published in July 2012

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