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Does multi-cloud backup have a future, or is it hype?

Backing up to multiple clouds can benefit your backup and recovery in different ways. However, from other important data protection perspectives, it may not be as beneficial.

Many organizations see the value of a multivendor platform. It enables taking different approaches to a problem and doesn't put all your eggs in a single vendor's basket.

A number of backup vendors are beginning to tout the support of multiple cloud vendors as a way to appeal to just about everyone. But is multi-cloud backup necessary or even beneficial?

Let me cover this issue by discussing it from a few perspectives.

Backup

The idea of backing up to both say, AWS and Azure, does follow the 3-2-1 backup rule; each vendor represents one of the two mediums required, as well as meeting the one copy off-site requirement. The ability to back up to multiple clouds also enables organizations that are operating in a multi-cloud mode to use a single backup vendor.

Recovery

There is a benefit for those organizations using a multi-cloud operational strategy to minimize egress fees on recovery by backing up and recovering within a given public cloud vendor. So, from this perspective, there is a tangible benefit to using multi-cloud backup.

Recoverability

This question should be asked: "Are you better able to recover because you use a multi-cloud backup strategy?" The answer for most organizations is no. Using a single-cloud strategy will give you just as much benefit, while going multi-cloud possibly overcomplicates both the backup and recovery strategies.

Availability

Even public cloud vendors have outages. Service-level agreements often provide little in the way of compensation, however. So, there can be some benefit to using more than one vendor here. However, given that the likelihood of a public cloud vendor ever going down exactly at the time you need to recover is so small, using multi-cloud backup to offset this potential issue is probably a bit of overkill.

With each of these perspectives in mind, what does the future hold for multi-cloud backup?

It feels like a niche play here -- some enterprise and midmarket organizations will require the ability to use multiple clouds as part of their backup and recovery strategy. But, for the vast majority of organizations, that's not a major concern.

While there's value in multi-cloud backup, I believe its future is going to strictly rely on organizational backup strategy rather than just the mere presence of multiple clouds alone. Time will tell, but for now, multi-cloud backup is an option and not a driver for backup and recovery.

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How do you see the multi-cloud data backup market playing out?
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I don't think we clearly set up the topic.
1. On premise data centers backing up and archiving to clouds, then write once to two clouds if you are expecting to have long term retention is critical advantage in my opinion for Fortune 100.
2. While some are willing to take risks the Fortune 100 are too large for the board to accept the small risk that a cloud vendor will have a data loss, long outage, or sudden collapse of the business, remember Enron?
  • The ability to store long term backups and archives (not same thing to me) so using two different vendors that use two different technologies reduces the risk that critical content can't be recovered, or not recovered in the time the business is willing to accept.
  • The long term backups and archives need to have some process to detect data rot, inform the client that this occurred, and repair it in a process that does not place data at risk, make a copy fix the copy have business validate the fix then replace the data rot.

Businesses that only use cloud hosting, need to have a CI/CD process that can deploy to two different cloud vendors and use data replication and local cloud backup and archives.  This way they can recover fast and data replication is one done once.  This way you have protected from a security, bad employee, corporate collapse, or technical bug that may impact one of the cloud vendors.  While this is a black swan event over 10 years that have a chance of occurring that is often to high for Fortune 100 and many Fortune 1000 companies.

Note cloud vendors often have an unstoppable object (change) that customers can't stop or defer as such only one cloud could trigger an event on large businesses that can only be mitigated by running on premise or using two different cloud vendors who use different technologies with fully automated lifecycle ITOps (DevOp + GetOps ..).  
So without qualifying the problem statement the premise of the article may cause a high level of risk that many conservative companies would not be willing to take.
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