Cloud Q&A: Acronis Speeds Up Backups in the Cloud

Doug Barney talks with the BDR provider on the time-saving benefits that customers realize when using its cloud-based tool. Second in a series.

In our continuing series on companies taking on-premise tools into the cloud, Doug Barney talks with Alex Sukennik, Acronis Senior Director of Global Cloud Services, on the benefits customers realized in the time saved when its backup platform is run in its cloud form.

What tool would you like to highlight?
Acronis Backup and Recovery Platform with Cloud Storage

How different or similar is it to the on-premises tool?
Acronis Backup and Recovery Platform with Cloud Storage is essentially the same tool as the on-premises backup and recovery solution, except that it performs the backup job to a staging location. Then, once the job is complete and the server resources are free, the backup job residing in the staging location begins to copy to the cloud location. The key benefits of the cloud tool are:

  • Executes a single dual destination backup job.
  • Uses a backup Internet channel to move data to the cloud.
  • Eliminates a long maintenance window and frees up server resources for use by the entire user community.

What did it take to make the move to the cloud?
The process was extremely simple: We installed the software, created a maintenance window and performed an initial backup to the staging location. Then, the backup simply went off site automatically. There was no need for any additional hardware, purchasing, inventorying or scrubbing of data. Additionally, the server didn't need to take an additional backup directly to the cloud. As a result, the maintenance window for the cloud solution was only four and a half hours, compared to 16 hours with the on-premises tool.

How does a customer make the transition?
We knew we needed to rethink our back-up strategy when our large and growing maintenance window would no longer allow us to maintain a full backup. Initially we decided we would prioritize the data that we needed to back up, and while this created smaller jobs, we still had the issue of taking those individual jobs and making them work within the maintenance window.

With Acronis Backup and Recovery Platform with Cloud Storage, we were able to eliminate the additional maintenance resources of having to back up to external local media and then physically ship it off site. Instead, we could use staging and send the data to a secure off-site datacenter location using a dual destination job for all our backups. We were able to finish the backups within far more reasonable maintenance windows, as we backed up locally fast, and then sent the backups offsite overnight using our Internet line in conjunction with our regular Internet pipe.

In summary, we looked at our process for off-site backup and decided that we could do it in two steps: local backup, then to off-site. We then split the jobs into several smaller jobs by following the priority of data to back up. This allowed faster completion of backups. Once our backups were complete, server resources were free and the resulting smaller chunks of data were moved to off-site cloud storage. This was all done overnight, and by morning we had our initial jobs finished; now, our incremental backups always fit within our established maintenance windows.

Is there interoperability?
Yes. All Acronis products have access to both local backups and the Acronis Cloud off-site destination for backup and storage. In fact, from one central console, we can manage both local and off-site backups for our entire global hybrid environment, including VMware, Microsoft and Linux servers.

What has been the customer reaction?
Customers see the value because they have tangible results: smaller maintenance windows and new server resources freed back to the users. They like the fact that, with the Acronis platform, they can simply enable all the agents they want a la carte, giving them a customizable and comprehensive back-up and recovery solution, with the ability to do destination backups both locally and to the cloud.

What are the economic advantages?
With a cloud-based back-up solution, it is no longer necessary to have a long, drawn out process for sending disks/tapes off site. A backup should be a commodity, and an activity which does not require a highly skilled or paid resource. Using a dual-destination backup eliminates the traditional process involved in sending data off site, and provides off-site back-up reporting for disaster recovery and data protection. This lowers the cost of doing a backup, as there is no more need to buy hardware and physically manage backups outside the company.

Based on this experience, are you doing more cloud work?
We are trying to eliminate as much hardware management as possible. As an IT group, we want to focus on enabling productivity for our employees. Doing back-up jobs in the middle of the night or weekend to tapes/disk drives, and managing a vendor to send off-site, does not seem to provide more productivity and is definitely not cost-effective. Creating a smaller maintenance window and sending a back-up job off site to a cloud destination automatically enables us to focus our resources on higher level corporate initiatives.

We are moving more and more into the cloud, as not only can it provide off-site backups, but also enables a faster restore should we have a disaster. Cloud allows us to restore images to any machine, from any location, to keep business running as usual in even the worst-case scenarios.

What is the best compliment you've heard from customers?
Here's a customer testimonial: "When sending data manually off-site using a third party service, we have to manage that service, depending on them to get us the correct tapes/disks, restore the server (which can be very slow from tape), and then finally get us up and running again. Acronis Backup and Recovery Platform with Cloud Storage is an easier and more reliable solution that automates backups off-site without any of the management hassle. Cloud is the future, and if we have our data in the cloud today, we already have a lot of benefits from a process and price perspective, and going forward we anticipate new features, such as recovery-as-a-service (RaaS), for the instances we upload to the cloud."

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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