Snapshot technology has evolved. A number of Cloud backup software developers are leveraging the power of the snapshot to speed up storage related tasks and are using the technology in novel ways to convenience their customers and provide them with reliable alternate backup systems.  Here is a list of operations that can be performed on snapshots stored in the Cloud.

  1. Snapshot creation: Snapshots may be scheduled by the User-Administrator or storage management packages may be used for creating schedules of snapshots when the volume of data to be copies is large. The Cloud storage vendor may use the snapshot technology to create an image of the remote storage server and replicate the same in a geographically distant location for high redundancy and availability of data or disaster recovery.
  2. Mounting of snapshot volumes: Snapshots can be mounted for read and recovery purposes. Multiple snapshots can be mounted simultaneously for comparison.
  3. Snapshot deletion: Time driven or policy driven protocols can be integrated into the Cloud backup system to delete snapshots that are no longer required.  The deletion process can be automated or Administrators can retain the option to manually delete snapshots after review or after making a local backup for record purposes.
  4. Snapshot rollback: This operation is extremely useful if the data contained in the source system becomes irretrievably corrupt. The rollback command can be used to restore the system to the “last known good state” or to a snapshot state from a list of snapshots available on the backup system.  This process replaces the entire content of the source disk with the data as available in the snapshot being “rolled back”.
  5. Writeable snapshots: This is an advanced snapshot implementation.  Snapshot volumes can be mounted for reading or writing. These snapshots are known as writeable snapshots. The snapshot is dynamic and updateable. Incremental read-write operations can be implemented with this type of snapshot.

So, if your Cloud service provider has a “snapshot” offering, it will be a good idea to check the kind of technology implementation has been done in context. Make the effort to gain a complete understanding of what the offering can do or cannot do for your organization. Find out if the product features match your requirements. Snapshots can be a very powerful backup option provided the implementation has the right features and you can manipulate your snapshots to your advantage.