Cloud Services / Storage / Contributed

Cloud Native Backup as a Service (BaaS) — How Do We Get It Right?

22 Mar 2022 10:26am, by
Subbiah Sundaram
Subbiah Sundaram spearheads product management at HYCU. He has been instrumental in enabling the company to deliver HYCU Protégé along with the best-in-class multicloud solutions for both on-premises and public cloud environments. Prior to joining HYCU, Subbiah held senior executive positions at BMC, CA, DataGravity, EMC, NetApp and Veritas and had extensive experience in product development, planning and strategy. He holds an M.S. in computer engineering from the University of Iowa and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Do you have data applications that are distributed across multiple clouds? Is your multicloud strategy requiring you to rethink your approach to data protection? Are you currently in the process of evaluating Backup as a Service (BaaS) providers? Will you be investing in multicloud data apps in 2022?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to read on.

As IT data centers migrate to a hybrid cloud infrastructure, companies are having to take a hard look in the mirror and identify how they approach, manage and modernize their multicloud data protection strategy. And with so much evolution taking place within the technology space, the need to restructure your digital transformation strategy with a BaaS solution should not be considered a luxury, but a necessity.

Managing data protection in a multicloud environment is uniquely different than in a traditional, on-premises data center model. This makes the importance of choosing the most effective BaaS solution over manual deployment options paramount. BaaS offers the flexibility and agility that makes the journey to the cloud easier. To support this, the solution needs to support all elements within the infrastructure. That means being able to support both on-prem “clouds” and public clouds. That includes VMs, applications, buckets, containers and Kubernetes. That way, organizations will be ready to accommodate any and all backup scenarios that the business may require.

The bottom line is that cloud native BaaS is critical to any successful digital transformation strategy. Yet, questions still remain.

There are a number of ways to get BaaS right to help ensure the most effective data protection with the least risk of surprises. Let’s take a look at the nine steps I recommend for ensuring your organization is getting BaaS right.

1. Choosing the Right Class of Solution

Deploying backup and recovery to the cloud can be risky. As your demands change, so do the capabilities and shortcomings of each cloud you are using.

Any true cloud native BaaS solution should be both simple and agile to use with the ability to turn off and on as your needs change. Isn’t that the reason you moved to the cloud in the first place?

2. Upkeep and Maintenance for the Cloud Operations Model

As your data protection infrastructure needs continue to evolve, how will you adapt? You have two options:

One, you can waste valuable time, talent and resources by having your in-house team constantly updating your backup infrastructure. Or two, you can offload the task to someone else by adding a Backup as a Service (BaaS) solution to your digital stack.

Having the data protection capabilities on every cloud without the sizing and resizing headaches is a necessity. Any BaaS solution should be able to eliminate the nuances and complexities of sizing exercises and adapt to your changing needs both effortlessly and seamlessly.

3. Automating Protection

When it comes to setting up your backups, you can take a few different approaches.

One, you can endure the time-consuming task of manually setting up agents/connectors, backup configurations, backup jobs and backup targets. Or two, implement automated, policy-based backups by using BaaS.

By moving to the cloud, your goal was to eliminate or significantly reduce the burden on your IT department — correct?

In an ideal world, BaaS should provide one-click backups based on flexible policies. We like to call it the “set and forget” approach.

4. Leave No Application Behind

Multicloud environments are profoundly different than static on-premises environments. Protecting the critical applications and data that live there is as well.

Application consistency and the ability to discover new applications automatically should be at the forefront of any BaaS solution under consideration or already implemented. Manual tasks such as configuring backups or assigning backup policies should be a thing of the past.

Make sure your backup solution provides both automated and default assignments.

5. Recoverability

How important is business continuity and resiliency across your organization?

Having to perform VM-level backups and manual data recovery tasks is a tedious and cumbersome process, causing logistical roadblocks and disruptions company-wide. Ideally, endusers should be able to recover their data themselves and take the pressure off the busy admins.

The demand is high, and companies are needing their data restored NOW! Having an easy-to-use, fully automated BaaS solution will speed up the restoration process and slow down the pressure level.

Additionally, your BaaS solution should offer the granularity to recover ALL your applications, databases, files and folders.

6. Cloning

If you are running multiple infrastructures for development, testing, analytics, forensics and so on, having an efficient BaaS solution to create application-consistent (cloned copies) of your production environment is critical.

Not only does the cloning functionality reduce time, but it delivers real value by adding the extra flexibility and level of granularity needed to clone applications, VMs, Kubernetes clusters or containers.

7. Data Migration and Disaster Recovery

The ability to migrate workloads around from one on-prem infrastructure to another, from on-prem to public cloud or from one public cloud to another (cross-cloud migration), should be an easy “one-click” process. If not and you are still relying on big service engagements to move workloads, then you’ve lost the speed and agility advantages of the cloud.

What about disaster recovery (DR)? Do you have DR functionality for all your workloads or just for mission-critical, tier-one workloads? Are you being limited due to cost constraints and/or budget restrictions?

The only way to deliver a cost-efficient DR is when it’s done intelligently. A smart DR solution will store your backed-up copy but only use compute resources in the public cloud when you are in a DR situation. Traditional DR software is limitedly designed to duplicate a full environment on the DR site.

Make sure your BaaS solution offers the speed, agility and intelligence functionalities for both data migration and disaster recovery (DR).

8. Organizational Scaling

What if you could control costs, limit budget constraints and meet the growing organizational needs of your company without having to expand or burden your IT team?

It’s a no-brainer, right? When looking for a backup and recovery solution, it must support self-service. This allows endusers to restore their own files without having to rely on IT. Think about how ATMs transformed financial services by increasing customer convenience and reducing overhead costs for banks. Your backup solution should deliver that same advantage.

Additionally, we must consider the importance of multitenancy. Having a BaaS solution that supports multitenancy out of the box helps support organizational scaling.

9. Cost Efficiency

It always comes down to the power of the mighty dollar. When you are running multicloud environments, assessing the cost efficiency of data protection is critical.

It is important to only pay for what you need. When evaluating a BaaS solution, make sure the pricing scales with your usage. A smart BaaS solution recognizes the characteristics and functionalities of each cloud. This allows you to optimize your backup strategy while minimizing costs. Make sure your BaaS solution is intelligent enough to use the right kind of storage in the right way. Cloud vendors tend to offer a range of storage options to meet a variety of needs. You will want the ability to leverage available cloud storage economics.

So, when evaluating a BaaS solution, make sure it:

  • Supports all elements within your infrastructure, both on-prem “clouds” and public clouds.
  • Offers elastic scaling to keep pace with growth.
  • Simplifies data migration, disaster recovery, cloning and other advanced capabilities.
  • Knows how to use the cloud cost-effectively.

Without sounding like a cliché, Backup as a Service is an approach that just makes sense. Done correctly, it can provide the critical data protection that organizations need while minimizing the cost and maintenance roadblocks that no one can live without.

Feature image via Pixabay.