Understanding different types of cloud archiving and their benefits.
A cloud archiving service for your business data is important if you want to maintain long-term data retention as well as compliance and security standards in line with data regulations.
Some important factors to consider for a cloud archive back up are:
- The data must be easily searchable via metadata. Structural metadata refers to the design and specifics of the data structure. Metadata, is data about the data content.
- The data must be protected from overwrites or tampering as well as secure.
- The cloud service should abide by client- or legally specified, automatically applied data retention policies.
- Make sure that the cloud service will protect your data and assets with sound disaster recovery systems.
The advantages of cloud archiving especially for organizations such as graphic design or video production companies with large volume data retention needs:
No overhead for private mass archival storage infrastructure, and the associated implementation and maintenance expenses.
Cloud data storage also offers flexibility and capacity-on-demand benefits, but cloud storage may also pose some challenges such as latency, security and reliability of data transport, especially when the storage resources are located remotely.
As a result hybrid cloud solutions for storage have developed in an effort to overcome these issues by maintaining some storage resources locally ensuring reliable and secure transport of the data to the cloud.
Hybrid cloud storage solutions use both local and cloud-based storage. Hybrid cloud storage allows for scalability allowing access to cloud resources while addressing some of the technical limitations of a fully cloud based storage system, such as latency, security and reliability. These are all issues that arise from accessing storage resources across the WAN or wide area network. WAN is defined as a telecommunications network that that is spread over a broad geographical area (i.e., any telecommunications network that connects across metropolitan, regional, or national boundaries). A WAN may use private or public network transports.
A hybrid cloud storage solution uses two categories of products: hardware products and software products. The hardware portion of a hybrid cloud system is usually a physical appliance, providing local caching and performance. The software solutions can either be as a virtual appliance that may run on VMware and Hyper-V or as software that runs on a server. The presence of hardware products would benefit enterprise environments, where performance and reliability are the most important requirements.
Hybrid cloud archiving vs. Full cloud-based archiving services
Hybrid cloud archiving may be a good option for businesses that need to have fast access to the archived data. A local hardware storage system would provide high-speed access to high priority archived data, internally, while the lower-priority archived data is stored on the low-cost, cloud archive storage system.
A fully cloud-based archiving system would be a good option for organizations that do not have the resources to maintain any kind of private archiving storage hardware as well as no need for advanced performance.
Types of Local Storage
DAS – Direct Attached Storage — A typical DAS is one or more data storage device(s) ie. A disk enclosure holding one or a number of hard drives with a direct connection to a computer through a host bus adapter or HBA.
The main protocols and system of digital rules for message exchange inside or between computers for DAS connections are:
ATA, SATA, eSATA, SCSI, SAS, and Fibre Channel
NAS – Network attached storage is a dedicated hard disk storage device that is capable of having its own network address and provide file-based data storage services to other devices on the network.
A NAS (network attached storage) device is typically used in a local area network and is assigned an IP address. This allows both application programming and files to be served faster because they are not competing for processor resources.
Network attached storage can consist of one hard disk or it can be comprised of a multi-disk RAID storage system. NAS software can usually execute and handle many various network protocols.
Communication with a NAS device uses TCP/IP computer networking technology, basically it operates on the Internet like your own little personal cloud storage.
RAID — Redundant Array of Independent Disks is a fast, powerful configuration of HDDs in groups that share data in a way that splits up the streams of data into pieces and then distributes these pieces of data among the drives in the RAID. This enables faster bit rates and throughput, which is important for large design or video files. Make sure do thorough research regarding the different RAID configurations to make sure you are choosing the correct one for your business or home network. A RAID 0 will damage all of your data if just one of the drives goes down. RAIDS can also be configured to mirror each other and also to provide parity as an additional back up source to the initial backup.
SAN — A storage area network is a high-speed network (or subnetwork) that interconnects different kinds of data storage devices with the associated data servers for a larger network of users.
SAN Storage Systems Support:
- Disk mirroring
- Backup and restore
- Archival and retrieval of archived data
- Data migration between different storage devices within the network or subnetwork
- Data sharing among different servers in a network
- SANs can incorporate subnetworks with network-attached storage (NAS) systems
You can use one of these local storage devices for a local back up of the archive data for fast access and downloads as part of a hybrid cloud system. Most hybrid cloud services will provide their own branded hardware, however there are services that are agnostic to the hardware it can work with.
Now the next part is to determine which cloud service company will be able to provide you with all the services that you need without breaking the bank. This may be difficult since most enterprise cloud services will deliver on performance and reliability but the costs are usually very high. We will follow up with an article examining the advantages and downfalls of various cloud archiving companies.