Evolution of Enterprise Backup

by | Oct 11, 2021 | Data Science | 0 comments

Backup is boring, this was and in fact, sometimes still is the general description of the overall process of taking backup, as it does not seem to be exciting use of technology. But wait, what about the ransomware attack, which can occur at any time, or corruption of data that impacts your storage to storage replication. The tool which comes as a knight in shining armor is the backup tool, and the backup administrators are real life heroes. A lot has changed over the first 21 years of this century in terms of enterprise backup and recovery, so let’s go through the evolution of backup and restore technologies over this period.

Tapes to Virtual Tape Library (VTL) and Disk aka “the traditional way”

During the start of this century, there was a radical shift in the way the data is accessed in terms of quantity and workloads, as a result, data protection has changed. The points which need to be addressed at that time were growing data sizes and shrinking backup windows. So, Virtual Tape Library (VTL) or in general disk-based backup started picking up as the primary backup targets. The disk-based backups could ingest large amounts of data in a short span of time and store it efficiently. The price in terms of $/GB was not too economical, but it was an acceptable tradeoff. Backup software copied the data to the disk hardware. Data reduction methods such as deduplication and compression decreased the amount of data backed up on the disk.

Did it kill the tape?

No, tape was still there, albeit for secondary or archival purposes. Tape was the mainstream method of backup medium till disk took over. The newest version of LTO-8 delivers 30 TB, compressed the capacity per cartridge.

Cloud Backup

Like other aspects of infrastructure, cloud brought a revolution in backups too. Now one can keep a copy of data on cloud and access it from anywhere. The emergence of object storage provided cheap and plentiful space to keep your backups. Cloud providers themselves, over the period, enhanced their offering in terms of backup by providing multiple features. Not to be left behind, all the enterprise backup software vendors also now provide offerings to back up the data from data centers to cloud, besides backing up cloud data in another region or zone. We need very minimal configuration, and ‘pay as you go’ options are also available.

Now let’s look at key differences between traditional and cloud backups