From The Expert Feature Article
October 30, 2013

Cloud Storage Gains Twists, Turns and Market Share

The cloud storage market is arguably the hottest area among MSPs, service providers and customers today.

One major player is Asigra, which brought its hybrid storage to a new level this week, shipping its Cloud Backup Connector Appliance that uses both Cisco’s (News - Alert) UCS E-Series server blade and its ISR G2 router. The appliances sit on-premises and intelligently handle that tier of backup. The second tier is handled by replicating the backup data out to the cloud.

When this approach is based on an initial disk copy, an onsite backup disk and the cloud, it is called disk-to-disk-to-cloud or D2D2C.

Storage experts believes this is a superior architecture because you have a full backup onsite for quick access and restore, and the other tier in the cloud for disaster recovery or to restore to mobile users or remote sites.

Having an appliance do the heavy lifting for onsite backup is one way to make life easier; having that second tier in the cloud even more so. “SMB's need backup solutions that are easy-to-use, reliable and cost-effective,” said Robert Amatruda, Research Director, Data Protection and Recovery, IDC (News - Alert). “The Asigra Cloud Backup Connector Appliance delivers a turn-key system to alleviate their backup challenges.”

One Asigra customer simplified his storage approach. “Our network had become increasingly complex, storage was growing and our previous backup solution was struggling to keep pace,” said Simon Johnson, Finance Director at Opus Trust. By implementing the Cloud Connector Backup Appliance powered by Asigra, we simplified the infrastructure and improved the levels of data protection and recovery across all of our network and applications. We now have local backup to disk, automated offsite backup and a complete IT DR plan through the OnDemand Recovery service, implemented by Project Vision.”

Asigra itself is pushing the hybrid approach, particularly for shops with remote offices, as the central backup in the cloud can feed restores to all these locations.

“The Cloud Backup Connector appliance ensures that branch-office users receive LAN-like performance from their cloud backup application and that data is highly available and handled in a secure manner,” Asigra said.

Asigra has a bevy of MSP partners, and this management is what pleases customer L.K. Bennett. “Our switch to the Cloud Backup Connector Appliance helped the company to achieve several business benefits,” said David Van Eck, Head of IT at the company. “Through a centralized online monitoring portal made available by our service provider, Backup Technology, Ltd., we receive guaranteed backup and recovery for all of our data systems as a professional and fully managed service. The backup forms the basis for our enterprise-wide data recovery solution, which is essential to L.K. Bennett.”

Meanwhile, all this cloud storage should be cheaper as Asigra moved its pricing away from an emphasis on backup volumes and toward the amount of data restored.

Cloud Storage on the Move 

More and more, customers are trusting the cloud for storage. In a recent TwinStrata (News - Alert) survey, 84 percent said they use or plan to use cloud storage. This was more than any other cloud technology asked about. TwinStrata pointed out that its survey base was generally inclined toward the cloud.

“Enterprises with more than 1000 employees (60 percent) have already implemented cloud storage at far greater rates than small businesses and mid-market companies (38 percent) that have fewer than 1000 employees. However, as the ‘plan to implement’ numbers show, both groups seek to make cloud storage a major part of their future strategy,” the report found.

Cloud storage is growing in part because of its scalability. Estimates have it have that storage densities are growing some 20 percent a year. Meanwhile, Gartner (News - Alert) estimates that demand for capacity is growing more like 40-60 percent.

And in the company’s recent “Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2011-2017, 1Q13 Update” report, it found that “worldwide Cloud System Infrastructure Services (IaaS) Storage for end-user spending [is expected] to grow at a 31 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), from an estimated $1.7B in 2013 to a forecast $4.9B in 2017.”

Cloud Backups Put to the Test

Recently, MSP Today looked over some cloud backup test results done by MSP Remote Technology Management in conjunction with Business Solutions Magazine. StorageCraft was one of many tools tested, but it was KineticD that came out on top.

The RTM tests took over 40 hours, and included seven backup and disaster recovery (BDR) tools, including Asigra, Axcient, CharTec, Datto, KineticD, StorageCraft, and Unitrends. Catching testers’ attention was KineticD’s “unlimited local storage with cloud service; no bandwidth cap; no contracts and the backing up of applications, even when open,” testers said.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson