Why Rumors of On-Prem Backup’s Death are Premature

Posted by Mary Anne Halligan on Sep 22, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Backup is critical. No one questions that fact.

The rapid increase in cloud-based business management solutions has led to growing use of the cloud for backup. There are some distinct advantages, and the cloud seems pervasive. So a recent blog post published in Solutions Review floated the question, “Is the Cloud an On-Premise Backup Killer?” The article quoted several cloud industry experts who suggested that, if not yet dead, on-prem backup is on its way out.

“The premise of the blog is exaggerated.”

So says Randy Bowie, VP Backup Products & Engineering at R1Soft. As a veteran engineering manager, Randy has designed lots of software and is well-known in the industry. He says on-premise backup is not at all dead, for one simple reason: most cloud solutions are limited by the facts of physics. 

So we reached out to our “gurus and geeks” colleagues on Spiceworks, posted the question and were immediately overwhelmed with comments. Virtually everyone agreed that on-prem isn't going anywhere, and from the discussion, arose three key issues affecting backup choices:

1. Security

Need we say more? 

2. Recovery

Randy Bowie says people using cloud-based business management solutions often believe snapshots are all the backup that’s needed. “The problem,” he notes, “is that you can roll the system back to the latest snapshot, but all the changes made since are lost. It’s naïve to assume snapshots alone are enough. They’re OK for a total crash-and-burn, but the reality is that small restores are far more common and likely than full-on disaster recovery.” 

He points out that restoration from a LAN is faster than from the cloud, especially if there are bandwidth problems. And that leads us to...


3. Feasibility

Cloud access is inhibited if end-users don’t have access to enough bandwidth. “Large enterprises can afford dedicated lines to ensure enough bandwidth,” says Randy, “but it’s a significant problem for SMBs with limited budgets.”

ColtsFANMN spoke for many: “We’re in a pretty rural area of ND about 3 miles west of town. What we have for options are 50-year-old (or more) copper pairs in the ground, so we have two bonded T-1 lines, for a total of 3MB of bandwidth. That’s really our only option at this point, regardless of what we want to spend, until they get a fiber loop out this way...Funny thing is, I live just 7 miles from work (across the border into Minnesota). There I have cable Internet with 200MB bandwidth! Sometimes if I need to download large files like ISO images, etc. I just go home and do it... it’s worth the trip.”

Spotty bandwidth availability around the country creates a crucial inconsistency in a global business environment where consistency of access is crucial for business functionality and growth.

Here at R1Soft, our customers are small local web hosting companies. Those who, like ColtsFANMN, suffer from limited bandwidth can back up only small databases to the cloud. On-prem makes solid business sense for them. However, if they’re located just a few miles away where bandwidth is plentiful, they can offer more – cloud or, better yet, hybrid options.

They use R1 software to back up their customers’ data, giving them the best of both worlds. A protected server provides snapshot technology and then records blocks of change, Randy explains. It’s fast and local and can bring data back from any point in time without total rollback.

The Bottom Line?

And as one colleague reminded us, the cloud may have an amorphous name but data is in fact stored on someone’s premises. In our next article, we’ll explore backup solutions in greater detail and take a peek into the future through Randy’s eyes.

To follow the full Spiceworks conversation about on-prem backup, click here!

Don't forget to join the discussion. Do you agree that on-prem is here to stay? Leave a comment below!

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Mary Anne Halligan is Product Marketing Director for backup solutions at Continuum Managed Services, driving marketing programs, partner engagement and cool events for the R1Soft server backup and Continuity247™ backup and disaster recovery product lines. She brings extensive technical experience and a passion for creative marketing, developing new revenue opportunities for the company’s more than 3,500 partners. With a particular focus on software, services, storage and platforms, Mary Anne was previously in product management for several years at EMC, product marketing at HP, and served as an independent consultant for several Boston area small businesses.

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Topics: Backups, cloud, hosting industry

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