Backup product approaches vary as they take aim at the cloud

Use of the public cloud for backup data is something all the backup software suppliers provide, but implementations range from simple S3 connections to expansive software offerings

Use of the cloud is a natural fit for backup and archiving use cases where the vast bulk of backed-up data falls into the category of secondary data.

That’s not to say it is not important or valuable, however, and backup remains a key task for IT departments.

So, how are the key backup software product suppliers – Veritas, Veeam, CommVault, Dell EMC and IBM – adapting to the age of the cloud?

The cloud as a target has been universally available for several years now, although not all suppliers have connectors to all three of the big public cloud providers – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – with the latter the least well-served of the three.

For some backup products, cloud readiness doesn’t stretch much more than cloud or object storage as a target through (most often) Amazon’s S3 protocol and (sometimes) Azure Blob storage. In this bracket we can include CommVault and IBM.

Dell EMC’s Networker and Avamar add the ability to backup to the cloud through some of their own backup (Data Domain) or cloud-focused appliance products too.

Where frontiers are being pushed is in the provision of cloud-native – or cloud-to-cloud backup – backup and platforms that offer the ability to orchestrate data protection across a variety of on-premise and cloud locations, with notable mentions here being Veritas and Veeam.

Veritas

Out of the longer-established backup product providers, Veritas has most obviously adopted the multi-cloud message and is clearly working to the assumption that customers will work across a number of cloud environments in addition to their own datacentres.

NetBackup – as the more developed enterprise product – arguably offers a more rounded set of features than the midrange Backup Exec, and has connectors to numerous public cloud providers beyond the big three.

The NetBackup CloudPoint platform offers end-to-end data deduplication, automated discovery and backup without agents, visibility of data across multiple clouds, data classification and migration of data to other geographies.

Meanwhile, the NetBackup Resiliency Platform offers the ability to restore data from multiple cloud and datacentre locations. Applications are placed into different resiliency groups and given priority for restore should an outage occur.

Automated simulations take the place of backup/disaster recovery testing, from virtual machine to datacentre level, and there is integration with vSphere application programming interfaces (APIs) for I/O filtering (VAIO).

NetBackup’s CloudMobility targets organisations that want to work in multiple clouds and move data into, out of and between clouds and on-premise locations. It aims to make these operations automated and offers the ability to test migrations before carrying them out in anger to see if data and dependencies will come out as expected.

By contrast, Veritas’s midrange-oriented Backup Exec product seems less widely integrated with cloud operations than Netbackup. It is true, however, that the big three’s public clouds can be a backup target while disaster recovery can be orchestrated from the cloud in a link-up with Microsoft’s Azure Site Recovery.

So, what’s available via the big three cloud providers’ market places? NetBackup is available in Microsoft Azure and the IBM cloud, AWS offers Resiliency Platform and Backup Exec, and Google Cloud Platform offers Cloud Point.

Commvault

Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery software can protect data from enterprise datacentres and remote offices to the AWS cloud via S3 APIs, as well as make use of S3-based cloud storage or Glacier “cold” storage. Backup can be hybrid with on-premise capacity or “all in” with backup direct to cloud capacity.

Commvault’s backup environment can use the public cloud as a backup target, while cloud appliance versions of Commvault components are available in the big three’s marketplaces.

Complete offers data deduplication and encryption of data in-flight and at-rest and is also available as HyperScale physical appliances and as an as-a-service offering for virtual machines, as well as for native cloud applications such as Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce.

Veeam

In 2018, Veaam said: “It’s the year of the cloud.”

The company allows backup to the cloud as a target via Veaam Cloud Connect. It allows cloud to be added as a tier/target with data reduction and encryption from customer sites with full visibility of on-premise and cloud locations from its user interface (UI).

Veeam’s most recent Availability Suite product updates have focused on tiering and migrating data to public clouds.

Availability Suite’s Cloud Tier allows automatic tiering of data to object storage in Amazon S3 storage, Azure Blob Storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage and other S3-compatible service providers’ cloud and on-premise storage products.

Meanwhile, Cloud Mobility allows migration and recovery of on-premise or cloud-based workloads, while Direct Restore allows customers to restore data directly to the cloud and works with AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Veeam added cloud-native AWS backup functionality in 2017 with the acquisition of N2WS and has since re-packaged it as Veeam Availability for AWS.

IBM Spectrum Protect

IBM’s long-standing data protection suite – formerly IBM Tivoli Storage Manager – allows for the cloud as a backup target or migration to object storage in “cloud container storage pools”.

Targets can include IBM’s cloud and those of AWS and Microsoft included, as well as third-party object storage/cloud products such as those from Scality, Dell EMC, Huawei and Hitachi.

Inline data deduplication and encryption are built in and backup information can be replicated between IBM Spectrum Protect servers.

Dell EMC

Dell EMC’s backup products are Networker, aimed at enterprise customers, and Avamar for the midrange.

Both products can use public cloud (Amazon and Azure) and private cloud S3-compatible object storage as a target using Dell EMC’s Cloud Boost appliance functionality, as well as via Data Domain Cloud Tier.

Networker and Avamar are both available as cloud appliances in the AWS and Microsoft Azure marketplaces. 

Micro Focus (formerly HPE) Data Protector

Micro Focus Data Protector offers public cloud as a target, specifically to Amazon S3 and Azure, plus private clouds that use Scality and Ceph object storage.

In 2018, Data Protector added Cloud Bank object storage support for HPE StoreOnce storage. Cloud Bank allows users of HPE StoreOnce storage to upload deduplicated backup data to the Amazon and Azure clouds.

UK-based Micro Focus bought HPE’s software business in 2017.

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This was last published in February 2019

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