Organizations looking for more efficient ways of backing up and storing their data will, inevitably, look at Cloud offerings and compare it with tape backup solutions that are traditionally in use. However, Cloud backup comes with its own challenges and it is necessary to follow best practices to get the most out of the technology.

Plan for your data loads:  Data administrators must know their data load. In an era when “Big Data” is being generated and terabytes and petabytes of data are being moved across the network, understanding the data load is crucial to optimal network performance.   The implication is that the initial phase of the Cloud backup project is important; and impatience or carelessness will derail it.

It follows that administrators must work closely with their IT teams to identify all types of data loads that may required to be moved across different points on the network. They must meticulously review the database structure and ensure that it is well defined for optimal performance. They must have clarity on how long the data will be retained on the Cloud backup server and when it will be archived on the server or bled off the server to disk backups or tape backups for physical storage in backup vaults.

The administrator and the IT teams must decide on de-duplication and encryption strategies. They must look into system compatibility issues to ascertain that all data that is being backed up can be recovered to same or similar configurations of hardware/software from anywhere in the world.  Finally, they must train the employees so that the technology is entrenched in the organization and the process of backup and recovery is smoothened.

To facilitate all of the above, the administrator must ensure that the necessary tools are available with the Cloud product and the management interface can be operated from a “single pane of glass” and does not involved repeated logins and logouts for operationalization.  It will be an added bonus if the software permits plug and play of third party management tools.

It should be remembered that backup is but the first step to the ultimate goal of the organization—namely “building the capacity to recover data fully or partially on demand”.  Planning for backup is really planning for recovery of the data; as our enabling partner Asigra penned its slogan: “Recovery is everything”.

We shall briefly look at best practices for recovery in the next part of this series.