EMC claims cloud not ready for enterprise back-up

As EMC launches a number of back-up products, the division’s president says cloud back-up faces a lot of challenges.

Cloud-based back-up services will present a number of challenges for customers, according to a senior executive at storage giant EMC..

BJ Jenkins, president of the firm’s back-up recovery systems (BRS) division, told Computer Weekly that EMC has more than 40 service provider partners using EMC's products to offer back-up as a service. But Jenkins didn’t seem to have confidence in the rest of the provider’s technologies.

“It is likely anyone who has done a PC backup into the cloud will feel you are often better to Fedex your [content] than the slow upload time,” he said at this week’s EMC World conference in Las Vegas.

However, Jenkins felt there was a bigger challenge to face.

“The real issue is [data] restore,” he said. “When you have an outage or you need to recover an application to get any sizable file or data set… it is challenging, even if you are running your application in the cloud.”

Due to these constraints, Jenkins doesn’t see cloud back-up as a threat to EMC's traditional product business, which offers back-up hardware and software for enterprises to keep storage in-house.

EMC unveiled a new Data Domain back-up device, the DD990, which Jenkins touted as the "world’s fastest deduplication storage system". He claimed it could back-up 248TB of data in just eight hours and had up to 1.3PB of usable capacity, with the ability to consolidate up to 270 remote sites.

The supplier also unveiled updated software for its appliances, with more support for various databases – including Greenplum and Oracle – and a boost in performance.  

So, if the cloud isn’t ready for back-up, could it be used for anything in the storage sector?

“The biggest use case we have seen to date is disaster recovery (DR),” said Jenkins. “The idea I will keep a local back-up in my datacentre, but if I want something offsite, I will use cloud service providers for DR.”

However, the executive concluded cloud would be a bigger player in the future.

“Over time, as technology improves, we will see more customers back-up to cloud,” said Jenkins. “We look at it as opportunity though, not a disruption to our business. We are just trying to stay in front.”  

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