Legacy or traditional backup methods are typically defined as methods of copying data from its primary location to hardware or media that can be stored in an alternate location and accessed for restore purposes. Traditional approaches to backup often relied on removable media such as tape and in some cases for on-site hardware such as tape libraries or dedicated backup servers.
The introduction and now wide-spread use of cloud technologies, among other aspects, has lead to a rise in the number of organisations looking to replace legacy backup solutions or migrate backups to alternate systems. However, with some backup instances having been in place for decades it’s not always easy for organisations to replace incumbent solutions.
Legacy, or traditional, backup systems have been in place successfully for many years, so why change them? Technology has moved on at a rapid rate in the past two decades, and backup technologies have been able to take advantage of these developments. While backup may not be the most glamorous of tasks on the to do list of an IT manager, it is often business critical and can easily give tangible benefits when improved.
Aging legacy solutions can struggle to cope with rapid data growth, new systems and modern backup requirements such as rapid access to data. Reliability can start to be an issue, with backups failing or starting to overrun the acceptable backup windows set by the organisation. Refreshing backup technologies are likely to improve reliability, ensuring backups are successful and completed in a timely manner.
For cloud solutions in particular, flexibility is a major advantage over legacy solutions. With legacy solutions, if capacity starts to become a challenge it is likely that new hardware will have to be purchased, cloud ensures that capacity can be used on demand while organisations only pay for what they need. Implementation times are also cut, as cloud solutions often only rely on hardware that can be installed remotely.
A typical legacy backup solution will always have multiple parts to it. There is likely to be hardware onsite, storage media that the backup will be stored on and in some cases also an off-site storage location, which will come at a cost. Support and licensing can also contribute to complex renewals and pricing that simply isn’t cost effective. Modern backup solutions are more likely to have pay-as-you-go pricing models based simply on a per gigabyte or terabyte cost.
Cloud is by no means the only option for replacing legacy solutions, however, from a management perspective can be one of the most effective ways to get data securely offsite for recovery purposes. Replacing legacy solutions, must have tangible benefits to an organisation whether cost, efficiency or otherwise. One way to do this is to move away from a reliance on hardware, at least in part.
Hybrid approaches to backing up data will give an organisation the control and physical aspects of backup that they have become accustom to, while ensuring data is securely stored off-site. Hybrid models often utilise an on-site appliance or storage instance that data can be backed up to before being replicated to the cloud or an alternate off-site location.
Taking a cloud first approach can be daunting for some organisations. A perceived lack of control can be apparent with no on-site copy of data. However, cloud systems offer a range of flexible deployment options and give much needed options around scaling backup sets up or down easily. Data is encrypted when stored and security levels ensure that unauthorised access cannot be made.
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