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Backup challenges: Slow backup and recovery, growing capacity demands


Enterprise cloud backup market hot; users remain chilly

Vendors are pushing enterprise cloud backup as a useful option for IT administrators seeking a way to store data off-site but still keeping it available in case a need to restore data arises.

Vendors have addressed some of the backup and restore speed concerns by implementing data deduplication in data sent to the cloud, as well as the process of incremental backups, which only send changes to data backed up to the cloud. Typically, the initial backup is performed by backing up data to a storage device, which is then physically shipped to the cloud provider's location so the data can be stored there. Large restores can be performed in a similar fashion -- cloud providers may ship data on an appliance, DVDs or tapes to the user's site if necessary.

While cloud providers offer backup capabilities, customers need to know in advance how quickly they can expect to retrieve data in case of emergency. Some providers offer service level agreements that spell out just how quickly a restore can take, which can be helpful if a customer can only accept a short recovery time objective (RTO). Analysts have said that enterprise cloud backup is best used in conjunction with an on-premises data backup strategy. Also, organizations that handle some types of data -- such as medical records -- need to ensure that using enterprise cloud backup will not run afoul of federal privacy laws or other regulations.

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