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Clumio extends protection to SQL Server on Amazon EC2

Clumio Protect now covers Microsoft SQL Server on Amazon EC2, enabling customers to protect SQL Server data in the cloud instead of manual scripts or on-premises backup.

Clumio backup as a service added protection for Microsoft SQL Server on Amazon EC2, covering customers who haven't made the switch to cloud-native databases.

Clumio Protect for Microsoft SQL Server on EC2, which launched this week, has the same features and interface as the vendor's protection offerings for cloud-native databases such as Amazon RDS, MySQL and PostgreSQL. It can encrypt SQL Server backups and store them in isolated, immutable environments to provide ransomware protection, perform point-in-time recovery at 15-minute intervals and recover individual databases instead of entire EC2 instances.

Additionally, Clumio Protect doesn't install agents in customers' environments, so database performance isn't affected.

Although cloud-native databases including a Microsoft SQL Server on AWS service are growing in popularity, most companies that run SQL Server outside their data centers do it in Amazon EC2 instances, said Chadd Kenney, vice president of product at Clumio. They prefer this because it is less of a disruption than a full-blown re-platforming of a high-transaction database management system, he said, as it allows them to use the same workflows and Microsoft license, as well as the same backup products and data protection methods they've already implemented.

Most people deployed SQL Server on-prem and built heavily around it.
Chadd KenneyVice president of product, Clumio

"Most people deployed SQL Server on-prem and built heavily around it," Kenney said.

However, Amazon EC2's native backup capabilities aren't enough for critical workloads such as Microsoft SQL Server, Kenney said. EC2 can't restore to a point in time, and it can only restore entire instances. Customers have tried to work around this all-or-nothing approach through manual scripting and by pulling the data back into their data centers to use their on-premises backup products, but this leads to egress charges and potential security vulnerabilities, Kenney said. Therefore, using Clumio instead of traditional backup represents significant cost savings, he claimed.

Clumio Protect for Microsoft SQL Server on EC2 is generally available and costs six cents per GB under protection per month.

Legacy falls short

Microsoft SQL Server is mission-critical, so it requires point-in-time recovery, granular recovery and isolation between the backup and primary, said Krista Macomber, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group.

The problems of using legacy backup products to protect SQL Server in EC2 extend beyond egress charges and manual scripting, Macomber said. These products often use agents that affect database performance and carry management overhead such as ongoing software upgrades and manual scaling of resources. Still, despite the costs and headaches of using legacy backup, switching to a different data protection product such as Clumio carries its own risks, Macomber said.

"I wouldn't say that this one workload specifically will be enough to allow customers to completely let go of their old licenses," Macomber said. "Data protection is extremely sticky, and migrating off of a data protection solution is risky, expensive and time-consuming."

Clumio competes with other backup vendors but is most directly comparable to SaaS-based data protection vendor Druva, which is similarly based on AWS and has SQL Server protection capabilities. However, specifically for SQL Server running on EC2, Clumio's biggest competition is AWS Backup, as customers will likely turn to native tools first, Macomber said.

EC2 snapshots allow only recovery of the entire EC2 instance, and they are stored in the same AWS account as the primary data. Given how rampant ransomware is, customers should prioritize granular recoverability and data isolation, Macomber said.

"I'd say that these are among the more significant capabilities that customers should consider -- SQL instance-level backups and the ability to have a virtual air gap or data isolation, with immutability and strong access controls," Macomber said.

Johnny Yu covers enterprise data protection news for TechTarget's Storage sites SearchDataBackup and SearchDisasterRecovery. Before joining TechTarget in June 2018, he wrote for USA Today's consumer product review site Reviewed.com. 

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