From The Expert Feature Article
June 14, 2013

Cloud Backup: MSPs Flush with Choice, Part 2

Note: this is the second part of a three-part series. Click here for part 1, and here for part 3.

Backing Up Virtual

Today’s IT shops are most often a mixture of physical and virtual servers. That created a bit of a backup dilemma. Do you buy a dedicated technology specially built for VMs such as tools from Veeam and have two backup packages, or go with a vendor -- perhaps your existing vendor -- that supports both?

Now cloud vendors are entering the fray in a serious way. One such vendor is TwinStrata (News - Alert) and its CloudArray Disaster Recovery as a Service (CloudArray DRaaS) which can be deployed in the hybrid cloud model. Here a CloudArray controller on-premises talks to the DRaaS. The company promises to “deliver seamless disaster recovery (DR) for VMware users on-demand without requiring continuous investment in secondary infrastructure or sites,” the company said.

Like GFI, TwinStrata is a hybrid cloud believer. “CloudArray combines the resource efficiency of the cloud with the peace of mind of traditional, on-premises storage, making cloud storage an integral part of your organization’s storage strategy. As a result, organizations get enterprise-class storage and disaster recovery without the enterprise-size headache and costs,” the company said.

How CloudArray Works

The company recently analyzed the disaster recovery market for VMware and saw an opportunity. “Cloud-based DR alternatives for VMware environments have been limited by incompatibility and difficult administration, often requiring third-party conversion, migration and/or backup tools,” the company argued.

A TwinStrata user is seeing the value of hybrid. “Today, we use a combination of TwinStrata, cloud storage and an always-on cloud compute environment to drive our disaster recovery strategy,” said Vernon Jackson, senior systems engineer, SEPA Laboratories. “While it works well, it's pretty costly to keep secondary infrastructure up and running in the cloud just so we can run DR tests once a quarter. With this new CloudArray DRaaS offering, we can eliminate eight months worth of cloud compute costs, while still maintaining a quarterly DR test schedule.”

CTERA Sees D2D2C Value

Gartner (News - Alert) is hip to the hybrid cloud storage or D2D2C scene, and recently placed hybrid player CTERA on its five Cool Vendors in Storage Technologies list.

CTERA calls its approach cloud attached, and uses a cloud storage gateway appliance, in other words, a specialized NAS on the on-premises side. “The Cloud Attached Storage architecture combines secure cloud storage services with on-premises appliances and managed agents,” the company said. It further argues that “CTERA pioneered the cloud storage gateway concept, with tens of thousands of units deployed, and its scalable cloud service delivery platform is used by leading service providers and enterprises, on the public or private cloud infrastructure of their choice.”

Asigra Nabs Hybrid Customer

GFI and TwinStrata and CTERA aren’t the only ones looking to give tape the boot. So is Asigra, who with the help of MSP partner Echopath, convinced IT client PacMoore to rip out its tape.

“When we initially started looking for alternatives to tape backup, we looked at Echopath,” said Scott Reid, VP of operations for PacMoore. “They presented us with a solution that would eliminate the hassle of cataloging and sending backup tapes offsite and retrieving them for lengthy data recovery processes. With the service now fully deployed and several successful recoveries under our belt, the Asigra-based solution has given us the assurance of knowing our data is always accessible.”

PacMoore’s Reid sees end to tape dominance. “Tape is no longer a viable option given other alternatives now available in the marketplace. Cloud-based data recovery is so much easier than having to find, load and retrieve data from tapes,” Reid said. “Thanks to Echopath and Asigra, we have shaved off the number of hours spent on backup significantly and substantially improved our ability to recover from a data loss event regardless of where the data was originally located.”