There is an ever-increasing number of data protection providers creating replication receiver clouds as they team up with cloud service providers. This could herald the end of on-premise tape use for some enterprises, leaving tape to be used primarily by cloud providers. There are major benefits for Quantum, Zerto, Veeam, and others to form replication receiver clouds, but these clouds are not just for storage anymore. They could be purely for storage, but this is not a big win for the cloud service providers. So why would cloud service providers be interested in being a storage endpoint for data protection? Why are they concerned with backup and offering it as a service?

There is nothing new about replication receiver clouds—we have discussed them before. It is a logical use of cloud services, but what is new is that the cloud service providers are on board. Zerto, for example, has over 30 participating cloud service providers, and the list for all the data protection vendors will increase over time. There are several benefits for the data protection vendors, cloud service providers, and the tenants.

Cloud Service Provider Benefits

There are many cloud service provider benefits that in reality offset their costs.

  • They can offer as a service a software bundle they use internally (making more from the service than the product costs them). All Cloud Service Providers use backup products internally to back up their own systems. These tools, whether they hook directly into the hypervisor for offload backup functionality or require agents, are required to meet their own data protection and disaster recovery policies.
  • In effect, they can amortize the cost of the software across the tenants that will be using the service.
  • They can charge per GB/TB for non-deduplicated or even deduplicated storage space.
  • It is another way to bring tenants in the door.

Data Protection Vendors

For data protection vendors hooking up with cloud service providers, it is a way to drive their business and increase the capability of their software.

  • They now have a wider audience for their software.
  • There is an increase in software development to improve multi-tenancy of their products, which increases sales, etc.
  • They do not need to create their own clouds, just team up with others.
  • They can grow their companies by growing their cloud service provider relationships.

The Tenants

Tenants gain much more functionality when clouds offer replication receiver services.

  • Tenants can move to clouds as part of a backup stage, as it is very difficult to get terabytes of data into any one cloud.
  • Tenants costs are kept low until they need to stand up workloads (disaster recovery or migration).
  • Tenants can perform disaster recovery testing without an increase in system costs, as there is no longer a need to maintain hot sites, etc.
  • Tenants can now stand up workloads within the cloud as needed, as their data is already there. Unless the data is in the cloud, it is very hard to ‘burst’ workloads.

Concerns

Even so, tenants need to be cognizant of costs. It may be cheap per gigabyte to move to the cloud, but the real costs can hit when you start to run workloads within the cloud. There are several concerns in addition to the benefits.

  • How is data stored within the cloud: deduplicated and encrypted?
  • How can I get my data back OUT of the cloud: there and back again?
  • Can I easily stand up workloads on an as-needed basis while maintaining replication? In other words, do we have to use more storage to run workloads while replicating other workloads?
  • Do the data protection tools transmit not only my workloads but the networking, security, and application environment around them?
  • How is my data transmitted to the cloud: deduplicated and encrypted?
  • How can I manage my cloud replication receiver store and workloads: local or through some other portal?
  • Can we move from cloud to cloud if necessary?
  • Can we rent the receiver endpoint to migrate workloads?

There are a host of questions and the new breed of data protection tools answer some of them outright, while others are still works in progress.

Replication Receiver Clouds or the Products

There are other backup and data protection products around that fit as replication receiver clouds, but the following products have professed to work with clouds, have cloud service provider programs, or have unique features that make them extremely useful as replication receiver clouds.

Product Comments
Quantum Q-Cloud Receiver: Xerox Cloud, encryption in motion, integrates with vCenter,
can be standalone within your own cloud tenancy
Veeam Replication Receiver: unknown, encryption in motion, integrates with vCenter/Hyper-V,
can become a NFS data store for standing up workloads,
can be standalone within your own cloud tenancy
Vision Solutions Doubletake Receiver: unknown, encryption in motion, integrates with vCenter/Hyper-V,
translates between Hyper-V and vSphere, understands VMware vApps,
can be standalone within your own cloud tenancy
Zerto Receiver: 30 different clouds, encryption in motion, can move cloud to cloud,
integrates with vCloud Director (so will grab the network as well) and vCenter,
multi-tenant architecture

Conclusion

A replication receiver cloud must be more than a backup store; it must also allow me to migrate work loads. Using a replication receiver cloud is one method to get into the cloud slowly or, more to the point, to create a hybrid cloud. In either case we are just starting to see a group of companies that are looking past just data protection and into the realm of recreating your existing virtual or cloud environments somewhere else.

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Edward Haletky (376 Posts)

Edward L. Haletky, aka Texiwill, is the author of VMware vSphere(TM) and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing the Virtual Environment as well as VMware ESX and ESXi in the Enterprise: Planning Deployment of Virtualization Servers, 2nd Edition. Edward owns AstroArch Consulting, Inc., providing virtualization, security, network consulting and development and The Virtualization Practice where he is also an Analyst. Edward is the Moderator and Host of the Virtualization Security Podcast as well as a guru and moderator for the VMware Communities Forums, providing answers to security and configuration questions. Edward is working on new books on Virtualization.

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