The instant an organization decides to move information to a cloud backup, it runs into a roadblock.  Seeding data into the cloud backup server is a long drawn and time consuming process that demands the resolution of a number of knotty issues. How does one seed data into the cloud backup from tapes or other kinds of media? Are there hardware and software compatibility issues to be handled? Does the service provider assist in the process? Is it sensible and even meaningful to ship out the data “as is where is” for seeding the cloud backup? The answer to these questions is not simple. Media transfer needs a think through and planning.

Cloud backup services will assure you that you can “seed” the data into the cloud backup by just shipping the tape(s) out to them. But, you need to make sure that they understand the process of transferring data from tape to disk and have the necessary infrastructure to complete the process successfully. “As is where is” transfers can be very expensive and will often result in the accumulation of inactive historical data in yet another location leading to inefficiency and ineffectiveness in cloud storage. Organizations cannot afford to accumulate useless data or lose their data due to ineptness of the cloud backup service provider or the transfer process (given the stringent legal mandates they need to comply with in context) that compromises on ease of “ediscovery”.

Unfortunately, most organizations do not know what data is stored on their backup tapes and how much of that data they want to recover to the cloud backup. They do not know if the information contained in the media contains duplicates or irrelevant information. As a result, even where the cloud backup vendor is skilled in transferring information from tape to disk in the backup, the organizations will be hard put to identify and ship the tapes containing only data that they want in their cloud backup repository.

Experts on the subject have suggested that organizations could resort to snapshot technology to identify and categorize the information stored on their data tapes before attempting any kind of media transfer to the cloud. A few cloud backup service providers have adopted this solution and offer snapshot services as part of their overall service offerings. However, the bottom line is that organizations must make the effort to review, categorize and catalog the information in their possession before requesting their cloud backup service provider to seed their data into the cloud backup vaults.