A reality check is going on in enterprises when it comes to cloud backup. While the vast majority recognize its value and are aggressively adopting it at many levels, the intangible issues of recovery and support tend to rear their head and preclude these enterprises from to date adopting a core cloud offering: cloud backup. It is these concerns that IBM and Symantec are teaming up to tackle so that enterprises may confidently do more than backup to the cloud – they can recover their data once it is in the cloud with a process that is supported end-to-end.
In case anyone has not yet gotten the memo, the cloud is “On.” A recent study published by the Cloud Industry Forum found that 76% of the 400 respondents already leverage cloud services in some way with the level of cloud adoption highest among enterprise organizations (84%). Among all of organizations who are using cloud services in some way, 94% expected to increase their usage in the next 12 months.
Despite this high level of adoption of various cloud services among all of these organizations and among enterprises specifically, they are prioritizing the various cloud service offerings differently. Of particular interest, there is a wide disparity in how they prioritize the adoption of cloud backup in the next 12 months. Among organizations with 20 or more people, they expected to increase their use of cloud backup over the next year as follows:
- 100-999 employees: 37% increase
- 5,000 – 9,999 employees: 38% increase
- 1,000 – 4,999 employees: 44% increase
- 20-99 employees: 54% increase
But there is one notable exception to this expected increase of cloud backup among organizations with 20 or more people. Large enterprises which on a whole are most aggressively adopting the cloud suddenly show little desire to adopt cloud backup with only 29% listing cloud backup as a priority. So what gives?
Enterprises have two major concerns when it comes to backing up their business critical data to the cloud: Recovery and Support. In regards to recovery, it is less about whether or not their data is safely backed.
Rather, their focus is more on how quickly they can recover their data and where this recovery needs to occur. If they have to bring all of this data back across the same wire that they used to back it up and then use their own hardware to perform the recovery, the length of time that it takes to recover from the cloud is likely unacceptable.
Support also comes into play. The level of IT complexity in most businesses with 1000 or even 5000 employees is probably not overwhelming. But when start talking about backing up data in enterprises with tens or even hundreds of thousands of employees, the number of applications and the level of support that a cloud service provider (CSP) must offer to successfully backup and recover those environments exceeds the capabilities of most CSPs – even the largest.
This is where the expanded partnership between Symantec and IBM comes into play. Unlike other CSPs that may just drop off a proprietary black box/appliance, provide some best practices and guidelines as to what data to backup and then leave the relationship at a “Call us when you have a problem” level, IBM and Symantec offer the comprehensive level of backup and recovery services that enterprises expect when looking to leverage cloud backup.
First off, enterprises can continue to use NetBackup in their environments so no “rip and replace” is required to backup and recover data from the cloud. By taking advantage of this partnership between IBM and Symantec, IBM can provide whatever level of backup management services that an enterprise wants.
Cloud backup could be as simple as just giving the enterprise a cloud backup target. The service could include backing up and recovering data in an IBM data center. It could even encompass fully outsourcing all backup management to IBM to include local and cloud backup. The point is that enterprises can move forward with a cloud backup strategy that most closely aligns with their needs and comfort levels.
Second, by using IBM, enterprises get a partner that understands enterprise data center requirements and has built an infrastructure to support them. IBM offers a global, 24×7 managed cloud backup solution for servers that may reside either at the customer site or at IBM’s site. In this way, IBM can backup servers at the enterprise’s site and give the enterprise the flexibility to restore the server at any site – their site or IBM’s site.
Third, IBM and Symantec bring to the table many of the data center features that enterprises might expect to support their cloud backup initiative.
- 24×7 support – Check
- Backup to tape – Check
- Comprehensive monitoring and reporting – Check
- Multiple data centers in case of disasters – Check
These two also bring to the table through the IBM SmartCloud Managed Backup the next generation set of features and offerings that enterprises want CSPs to provide such as pay-as-you-use pricing, scalability to handle more data, deduplication and VADP for backup of virtual environment. Taken together enterprises for the first time get an enterprise backup solution (NetBackup) with an enterprise CSP (IBM) that they need to give the go-ahead do implementing cloud backup in their environment.
The vast majority of companies are adopting cloud services in some way and backup is a logical service for every size business to look to move to the cloud. However until now it was difficult for enterprises to seriously consider pursuing this option until they were confident that they had cloud backup solution that could be non-disruptively implemented, supported and then could recover their data in the cloud. By leveraging the growing IBM-Symantec partnership, they can take cloud backup out of the cloud and make it a reality.