For several months, I’ve been talking about the inevitability of D2D2C (meaning that data goes from primary/production storage to secondary protection storage and then to a tertiary cloud). In fact, I blogged a few months ago that it seems hard to imagine organizations of any size meeting their recovery SLAs with a straight-to-cloud solution. Instead, the intermediary backup server or appliance provides a fast and flexible local restore capability, while the cloud provides longer-term retention.
But even D2D2C has several permutations, including:
- Backup-as-a-service intermediary caching devices before the BaaS service itself.
- Traditional backup servers/appliances writing to a cloud tertiary storage tier.
- Traditional backup servers/appliances replicating to a cloud-hosted copy of the backup engine.
- Traditional backup storage/dedupe platforms replicating to a cloud-hosed appliance.
And there are other options, all of which equate to D2D2C with various benefits and drawbacks. But many people are still not convinced to evaluate any D2D2C solution, for a few valid reasons:
- Security concerns – Many folks are justifiably concerned about data privacy in the cloud.
- Complexity concerns -- Appliances can be difficult to set up or a challenge to operate.
- Interoperability concerns -- Not all backup software works with every appliance or cloud-solution.
- Cloud-evaluate-ability concerns -- Those that haven’t started using cloud services yet believe it to be expensive and complicated to initially configure, even for a simple evaluation.
Riverbed, long known for disrupting the status quo through its technology innovations around WAN optimization, has taken that know-how to deliver a backup appliance called SteelStore (formerly WhiteWater), which provides a local appliance for fast recovery and compressing/deduplicating data before it is sent to the cloud – and then extended that with cloud storage. SteelStore provides yet another permutation in D2D2C by offering a deduplication-capable on-premises appliance (physical or virtual) that extends its storage capacity directly from the cloud storage provider of your choice.
Riverbed’s announcement today isn’t so much about the technology, as much as how Riverbed is removing your excuses for not trying D2D2C:
- Security solution – Because the cloud storage is simply an extension of Riverbed’s own storage container, the data is unreadable without a SteelStore in front of it. And yes, the data is encrypted in-flight and at-rest.
- Complexity solution – This week’s announcement includes a free virtual appliance. So, nothing to install other than a VMware .OVF file.
- Interoperability solution – The SteelStore appliance presents itself as a NAS. So any backup software that can write to a file share (all of them) can leverage the SteelStore appliance.
- Cloud-evaluate-ability solution – This is the cool one. Riverbed is partnering with Amazon to provide six months of AWS S3 storage for the Riverbed evaluation.
Specifically, the free virtual appliance supports 2TB of on-premises deduplicated/compressed storage that is then extended with up to 8TB of cloud storage. So, for the six-month evaluation, Riverbed and Amazon will cover the costs of those 8TB of cloud storage for six months, by issuing (8 x 6) 48 monthly TB credits. Sure, there is some fine print:
- If you later want a bigger appliance than the 2TB virtual model, Riverbed will be happy to sell you one – but the free appliance is yours.
- When you finish those six months, Amazon will start charging you for the storage if you continue using it.
- And you will have to talk to a friendly Riverbed person to qualify for the evaluation and get started with the technology and such.
Check out their website for more details, but the bigger picture is that there are many that would benefit from a better data protection infrastructure – with deduplication and fast agility on-prem, but with a scalable and economic tertiary capability in the cloud. And for those folks (and you all know who you are), you may be out of excuses. Arguably, this kind of offer with a virtual appliance and free Amazon storage, may have singlehandedly removed the barrier to evaluation for D2D2C more than any other announcement in 2014, thus far.
So what is your excuse for not trying D2D2C yet? Riverbed may have an answer for that, too.