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Veeam moves VM backups to the cloud

Veeam Software is the latest on-premises backup software vendor to embrace the cloud, using it to copy VM backups already on disk.

Virtual machine backup specialist Veeam Software this week added the ability to use the cloud as an additional tier for data already protected on disk.

Veeam Backup Cloud Edition is sold as a product that's separate from the vendor's flagship Veeam Backup & Replication application for VM backups. The cloud version copies local backups of data on virtual machines (VMs) to a public cloud according to a schedule set up by the user. The Veeam software compresses, deduplicates and encrypts data that it copies to the cloud. It also alerts users via email about the status of the cloud backups.

Veeam supports 15 public cloud services, including Amazon S3 and Glacier, Microsoft Windows Azure, Rackspace, and HP Cloud. It also supports private clouds built on OpenStack.

Veeam product strategy specialist Rick Vanover said customers can keep as many as three revisions of files in the cloud. The applications' built-in software gateway can hold data for 30 days after it is deleted in the cloud.

Unlike cloud backup services used largely by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) such as Mozy and Carbonite, Veeam does disk-to-disk-to-cloud backup rather than backing up directly to the cloud. Veeam's cloud edition is designed for companies that want to continue to do on-premises backups while keeping another copy of protected data off-site.

"I can take the whole backup and send it all up there to the cloud," Vanover said. "Or I can add granularity. I can take full backups to the cloud once a month, once a week, or take every backup every day, or take some backups and not others. Or we can kick off the cloud backup immediately after the backup job to disk."

Vanover said the cloud edition includes all the code of Veeam Backup & Replication, and existing customers can add the cloud capabilities by licensing the gateway.

Veeam Backup Cloud Edition is available in one-, two- or three-year subscriptions, starting at $649 per year. Veeam's cloud subscriptions are based on CPU sockets, not the amount of data moved to the cloud. Customers must also pay a subscription to the cloud providers.

Cloud backup rolling in?

Jason Buffington, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, said it's probably a matter of time before all backup software vendors embrace the cloud. And that's largely because they don't have a choice.

"I think every credible backup vendor with a large on-premises backup solution is at least aggressively looking at how to augment their solution with the cloud," Buffington said. "If they don't, they know they will be replaced by a cloud-centric solution."

Buffington said there are three primary models for data protection in the cloud. There is a Backup as a Service model where customers turn over their entire backup process to a provider, a Disaster Recovery as a Service model where they send virtual machines to the cloud that can be stood up for rapid recovery in case of an outage, and a hybrid model that combines on-premises with the cloud as a DR option.

Buffington said Veeam uses the hybrid approach, which is a good fit for midmarket businesses and enterprises. He said smaller companies are more likely to use the cloud exclusively for backup, often because "they weren't doing backups very well to begin with. But a lot of folks underestimate how much work they have to do, even when they use a backup service. They still have to mess with agents and schedules. And if something goes bad, it doesn't matter if you're paying a cloud provider, it's your data that's lost."

He said the Veeam approach is for people who say, "I want my on-prem copy, I want my fast recovery from local server, and I also want geographic protection that comes from the cloud. You can back up to the cloud all day long but, if you're going to recover a lot of data, you're going to want on-premises data."

Some backup vendors take several approaches. For instance, Symantec has a Storage as a Service model around NetBackup, and a hybrid option for its Backup Exec SMB product. CommVault Simpana includes cloud connectors that let customers move data off to service providers, and also bundles Azure with Simpana to facilitate backup to the Microsoft cloud.

Private cloud for BYOD backups

Druva earlier this month added a new twist when it launched a private cloud option for backing up data on endpoint devices. Druva inSync Private Cloud consists of a cloud master-node device that handles authentication and policy management for all laptops and mobile device on the cloud. It automatically directs each client to the appropriate storage node -- a storage area network or direct attached storage -- for backup.

The InSync cloud option costs $30,000 for the initial setup and requires a monthly subscription starting at $4,000 for 1,000 users.

Vision Solutions, which makes Double Take replication software, launched a DR-as-a-Service option today called Cloud Protection & Recovery for service providers. The service builds on Double Take's real-time replication and Apache CloudStack Enterprise software to allow service providers to add recovery services for customers. The Vision DR service option also includes metered usage from Vision's Mimix Availability and a Double-Take software development kit that gives providers application program interfaces for custom integration of Double-Take into their clouds.

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