Cloud Backup Technology though might be a very recent buzz word, but technologically it has been a very promising concept from a very early time. Much research and development has been done in this field owing to its huge potential and market. Cloud Backup technology addresses to the needs of a very wide range of users. It has become a very generic name. There are primarily three sub divisions on the basis of how much control the client has on the way data is stired at the vendor's end.
- Public Cloud Backup
- Private Cloud Backup
Hybrid Cloud Backup
Public Cloud Backup
Public Cloud backup is the standard and most widely form of cloud backup that we see. It is the model used by individual users and SMBs. Under such a model, the client has no authority over the hardware, routing of data, encryptions, maintenance etc. Public Cloud Backups act as a third party whose services are taken on a contract basis, much like outsourcing. The client simply hands over its data to the cloud backup service provider trusting it for data’s safekeeping. This obviously means that the client does not need to take the pain of all these setting up and maintenance issues. This is by far the best option for small users like personal users and small and medium businesses (SMBs). It saves lots of cost, is very easy to use and incorporate and sufficiently secure. There are a plenty of major cloud players catering to every level of needs ( see “Major Cloud Players”). Such systems not only provides a superior backup facility compared to traditional backup services but also provides never before sharing capability of very large files, which was earlier not possible.
Public Cloud Backups work on a very simple system. The client simply has to buy up the required subscriptions from the service provider. The service provider then installs custom software on the client’s device. This software acts as the interface between the client and the service provider. It consistently works in the background, backing up all the marked data. It also keeps a track of all the changes made in the files and modifies the backed up data accordingly. This piece of software also takes care of security by encrypting the data first on the client’s machine itself and then routing the scrambled data over the internet to the servers.
Private Cloud Backup
Highly critical tasks are never outsourced. This is what brings the idea of private cloud backup. Data is of prime importance to any big corporate. Major research reports and future plans cannot be stored on servers managed by third parties, no matter whatever security claim the service provider might make. However, this also does not mean going back to traditional methods of backup. How can it be? It’s the most important piece of data we are talking about.
To cope up with such issues of privacy, many major organisations tend to develop their own system of cloud backup. Under such a system, the organisation itself installs servers at multiple geographic locations and backupdata on to these servers using cloud computing technologies. The organization owns data, s/w licenses, infrastructure, security, etc. in private cloud. They hire their own highly trained professionals for its maintenance and security. The beauty of this system is that the information never goes out of the purview of the organisation. No one from outside can even get hold of even the scrambled data. There is another version of private cloud where the cloud vendor assigns private servers to the client. In such a case, the details of its location, security, where data is stored, and many more critical details are shared with the client. Thus it virtually becomes private and exclusive storage for the client. On the face of it this might seem very similar to the traditional way backups were done, where servers were used to backup data, etc.. The key difference is the technology used with private cloud backup is of cloud computing era (abstraction, virtualization, etc.) and not traditional (for distributive technology area).
Such system becomes very trivial when very precious data is involved. In public cloud backup systems, the data is encrypted on the client’s system and then routed over the internet to the servers. The encryption key is usually always known to the service provider. This means that the service provider, if it wants can have access to these data. In public cloud backup systems, there also issues of change of ownerships i.e. the service provider can be brought up by some other company whose authority might not be trustworthy. There are also jurisdictional issues involved. For example, the US constitution allows the federal government to look upon any data stored on servers installed on its soil. For more details see Challenges of Cloud Backup.
Private cloud Backup truly keeps all the data very private. However, setting up the entire infrastructure is anything but easy. It requires a very huge initial investment, regular maintenance expenses and professionally highly competent workers. This is not possible even for medium sized businesses. However, for the big organisations, which have a lot of money at their disposal can afford these systems and they must, if the price associated with such information is so very high, go for private cloud backups.
Hybrid Cloud Backup
Public cloud backup is very easy to use and incorporate. Private cloud backup offers ultra high security and autonomy to the data stored. However, as we have seen earlier, both of them suffers from major issues. This calls for optimisation. The result of which is “hybrid cloud backup”. Hybrid cloud backup is an amalgamation of both the forms of cloud backup, i.e. private cloud backup and public cloud backup. It is basically based on the theory that, not all data is super important to be saved exclusively on private clouds and that the cost of private cloud is directly proportional to the size of data stored on it.
Under this system, the organisation maintains both public and private cloud backups. It saves less classified information on cheap and easily scalable public cloud backups. However, the ‘top secret’ information is stored on a private cloud backup. This way, a balance can be obtained. Storing less information with the private cloud backup system means that less physical server needs to be brought and maintained which means less expenditure. Hybrid cloud backup system can be adopted even by mid sized organisations thus giving them more autonomy over their data.
The need of hybrid cloud backup arises from one other set of reason too. This is the issue of ‘integration with existing system’. Cloud backup is a relatively new concept. However, backing up of digital data is not. Many old organisations already have their own system of backup. They simply cannot jump to a completely new cloud backup all of a sudden. In such cases too, a balance is struck with the help of hybrid cloud backup system. Consider the case of a national bank. Up until now it used traditional methods of backup. Now it wants to go advance. This organisation cannot all of a sudden start moving their database onto the cloud. Indeed, it starts at first, by storing new and less trivial data on the cloud backup systems, also at the same time moving the previously stored less trivial information on to the cloud. At the same time, while storing all the delicate information on its old and secured servers. This creates a new kind of “hybrid backup technology” optimising the best of new cloud backup technology and at the same time utilising its previously owned assets. The bank can then move it’s already brought servers to different locations, making it disaster proof, i.e. using the previous servers to create a private cloud backup for sensitive information and pushing the more generic data on to the cost effective public cloud backup.