In our current "cloud-native" age, local storage can seem unnecessary or even backward. Given that cloud storage has become so scalable, agile and inexpensive, you may wonder why anyone would still rely on local storage. In reality, however, local storage remains very valuable for certain types of workloads. Data backup and disaster recovery are among them.
Although local storage may not be the only type of storage solution that supports data backup or disaster recovery services, it should be one component. For data backup and disaster recovery, local storage delivers benefits that cloud storage alone just can't provide.
This article explains why local storage remains valuable for offering Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS).
BaaS and DRaaS Data Reliability
One benefit of local storage that the cloud can't match is reliability during times of Internet connectivity problems.
When your data is stored locally, disruptions to external network connections won't interfere with your ability to recover clients' data. DDoS attacks (which are sharply increasing in frequency), ISP failures and other types of Internet connection failures are therefore less of a concern.
True, if you use local storage for BaaS or DRaaS, you probably depend on the local network to transfer data during recovery. The local network, like the public Internet, is not immune to failure.
But the difference between local and external connections is that even if the local network fails, it will generally be possible to work around the problem. For example, if a local network switch goes down, you could manually configure a network connection between backup and target servers to restore data over the network. Alternatively, you could copy data using local disks, without having to rely on the local network.
These sorts of solutions are not possible when your backup data is stored in the cloud and you cannot reach it without a working connection to the public Internet.
By increasing the reliability of your BaaS and DRaaS offerings as a result of not having to depend on the public Internet, you increase your clients' confidence in your services.
BaaS and DRaaS Recovery Speed
Another major benefit of local storage for BaaS and DRaaS is that data that is stored locally can be recovered much faster than it can from the cloud in most situations.
After all, the average connection speed on the public Internet worldwide is just 7.2 Mbps. At that rate, it could take days to restore your clients' data from cloud backup to production servers if you need to do a full data restoration. Good luck trying to meet your clients' RTO at that rate. Plus, even if your clients have a faster-than-average Internet connection, it is unlikely to come anywhere close to matching the bandwidth of a local network, where 1 gigabit connections are standard and 10 gigabit connections are becoming common.
And of course, if you back up data locally, you always have the option of transferring it using disks or other local storage media rather than relying on the network. Depending on the volume of data you are working with, this approach may lead to faster recovery speeds.
This benefit of local storage also helps clients feel safer and happier with your BaaS and DRaaS offerings.
Local Storage and the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy
A third reason why local storage should be a part of any BaaS or DRaaS solution is that it helps to satisfy the requirements of the 3-2-1 backup strategy paradigm.
According to this rule, you should have available, at all times, at least three copies of the data that you need to backup. In addition, at least two of those copies should be stored on devices that are independent of each other, to eliminate the risk that a problem with one infrastructure could damage backup data stored somewhere else.
If you use local storage in addition to cloud storage, it becomes very easy to meet the 3-2-1 data backup strategy requirement. Local storage gives you an independent storage location for your data that is disconnected from other storage infrastructure.
Although it is technically possible to achieve a 3-2-1 backup strategy without local storage, doing so is difficult. Since local storage helps to meet this requirement while also providing other benefits, it makes very good sense in most cases to use local storage.
Achieving Efficient Local Storage for BaaS and DRaaS
One common objection to relying on local storage for BaaS and DRaaS is that local storage tends to be more difficult to scale than cloud storage. Local storage can also be more costly in some situations.
These are valid points. If they create challenges for your BaaS and DRaaS offerings, however, there are ways to mitigate their impact. For example, you could store only business-critical files locally, while relying on cloud storage for other types of data. Or you might choose to store locally only those files that would need to be restored very quickly following a disaster, while relying on the cloud to store other data that the business will not need to recover immediately. These approaches would limit the size and cost of local storage while still allowing you to meet RTO and RPO objectives.
Conclusion: Local Storage and Disaster Recovery
Local storage may not be as trendy as cloud storage, but it remains a crucial part of most BaaS and DRaaS offerings.
This is not to say that you should not also take advantage of cloud storage. The cloud offers a number of other benefits for BaaS and DRaaS, and you should certainly leverage them if they make sense for you.
However, even if you rely heavily on the cloud for data backup and disaster recovery infrastructure, don't discount the importance of local storage. Both play important roles in building a reliable, fast and cost-effective BaaS or DRaaS solution that will satisfy your clients' needs.
Alexander Negrash is director of marketing at CloudBerry Lab, a leading cloud storage service provider that works closely with MSPs.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.