Open Telekom Cloud for Business Customers

Backup in the data center: The cloud as a lifeline

by Editorial team

High on the list of the 25 worst IT sins, according to industry magazine Computerwoche, are "Not creating backups" and "Not distributing backups." Mistakes that apparently are being made less often, if one goes by the continuous growth in the number of companies implementing backup and disaster recovery concepts with the cloud instead of on-premises. This is the result of a recent survey of more than 800 U.S.-based IT managers, conducted by backup expert Unitrends. According to the report, the proportion of companies that use cloud capacities for data backup and disaster recovery has risen by 22 percent since 2016 to well over half (59 percent).

An image of a cloud connected to various devices
You really can’t do without it: Every company needs a data backup and recovery plan. Image: iStock/tolgart

Test winner in data protection: The Open Telekom Cloud

"It’s a trend that is emerging not only in the United States, but also in Germany," says Max Guhl, Expert Sales Open Telekom Cloud. "Data backup, for example, is currently one of the most common application scenarios within the Open Telekom Cloud.” And also among the best: In a recent comparative test by the trade journal, the cloud report, the Open Telekom Cloud took first place in the backup category. The reason: Of all the cloud providers tested in the area of data backup and recovery, the Open Telekom Cloud has the "largest range of functions at moderate costs,” the trade magazine concluded.

Object Based Storage: distributed storage, low costs, fewer overheads

There are many reasons for the generally high demand for storage solutions from the cloud. S3-compatible Object Based Storage (OBS), for example, offers various advantages due to its technological properties. In contrast to block storage, OBS is suitable for distributed storage across multiple locations without any problems and with little effort. This satisfies two backup scenario requirements at the same time: almost limitless scalability and distributed data storage. In this way, companies ensure that their data can still be recovered in the event of the failure of a particular application. In addition, OBS can be used independently of servers. Access is via an S3-compatible interface (API) or the OpenStack-based counterpart Swift.

This saves overhead costs. While block storage always requires a virtual machine for data management, OBS does not. Thus, the only costs incurred are for the actually used storage space. The more infrequently it is accessed, the lower the costs. That’s why OBS is regarded as the ideal long-term storage.

Block storage: Fast access, dynamic storage, easy management

However, OBS is not necessarily equally suitable for every purpose. Block storage is actually better suited to certain processes, and for some it is even indispensable. For example, for databases: Files that are frequently retrieved, edited and stored again are not the right fit for an OBS. Because data in the Object Storage is not readily changeable. It can be opened only in its entirety and then – if there are changes – rewritten. This makes incremental backups or simultaneous working on documents with OBS disproportionately time-consuming. That’s not the case with block storage, which is why it’s more suitable for dynamic processes.

Providers of backup solutions use the properties of block storage, for example, to be able to recover even individual files at any time. That's why when it comes to backup scenarios, block storage is better than OBS for dynamic processes. But providers are already working to change that: Because OBS is cheaper and therefore currently in high demand, there will be solutions in the foreseeable future with which dynamic processes can also be mapped with OBS.

How best to implement backup and disaster recovery

But which storage architecture is best suited for data backup and recovery? "This depends on the intended use and can only be answered individually," says Max Guhl. "The most efficient approach is to define the company-specific requirements for a storage system as precisely as possible in advance. How often does access take place? Is it static or dynamic data? What is the budget? And so on. With such a battle plan, companies have already taken the most important step toward determining the right backup and disaster recovery strategy for them. We at Deutsche Telekom are always available to provide advice and practical support for detailed planning." 

Automated backups of complete system landscapes

However, in order to avoid having to deal with these kinds of, at times, very complex detailed questions about the underlying storage architecture, cloud providers such as Telekom offer ready-made services for disaster recovery that map certain processes as a whole. These include the Open Telekom Cloud’s Volume Backup Service (VBS) and the Cloud Server Backup Service (CSBS). With VBS, companies secure individual data and operating system volumes of virtual machines from the Open Telekom Cloud’s Elastic Cloud Server (ECS) offering. CSBS goes one step further and, if required, automatically secures entire system landscapes – i.e. all ECS and all associated volumes in one step – every hour if necessary.

"Regardless of what companies opt for – any backup is better than none," says Max Guhl. "In any case, companies should inform themselves to ensure they don’t belong to the 30 percent who, according to the statistics, suffer data losses every year. Our experts are happy to help."

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