If there’s one word in IT that is being overused to the point of becoming cliché, It has to be “cloud.” Public cloud companies have been around for nearly 20 years, and they continue to pick up significant traction, especially in the last ten years. Every on-prem IT solution vendor admits that cloud is a major disruptor as almost every customer wants their business-critical apps to be cloud ready. The problem for backup vendors is, most of them were not architected with the cloud first and foremost in mind and simply move their on-prem designed architectural complexity to a public cloud of choice and check a box that they’re cloud enabled or cloud ready. From our perspective, there is nothing worse than "clouding" a definition or even worse making an intentional attempt to mislead customers by marketing an outdated software architecture as cloud-native. This is what many of us would call, "cloud washing."
Now you might ask yourself, what on earth is a true cloud-native data protection solution? For all of us at HYCU, the answer is simple. It has to be designed for the cloud. It has to be delivered the way you run other cloud-native applications. It has to be implemented and priced to the customer. This involves five basic concepts:
- Delivered as-a-service
- Purpose-built for the cloud
- Cloud-scale architecture
- Hybrid-cloud aware
- Proactive customer support
Here’s more on each of these five basic concepts:
When a data-protection solution is delivered as-a-service, it should offload any form of manual labor. In other words, the solution should be:
- No deployment and configuration
- No discovery of existing and new VMs and applications
- No maintenance or upgrades.
Anything to the contrary would defeat the very purpose of cloud ready, and minimize the focus on simplicity and automation.
Purpose-built for the cloud
When a data protection solution is purpose-built, much like the concept of purpose-built appliances, it should be tightly-integrated and support the specific platform it was designed to support, the best way possible. This means, there should be minimal to no redundancy and that it should complement and add value to the cloud platform of choice. This ensures the best ROI of the cloud platform of choice by in turn leveraging every ounce of its functionality. In other words, purpose-built should be:
- Delivered agentless, impact-free and allow for high-performance backups using native snapshots
- For all cloud users, inheriting permissions and multi-tenancy and promoting self-service
- Using multi-regional cloud storage with auto-tiering to store the backups for cost-efficiency
Anything else defeats the value of cloud native.
When a data protection solution can be deployed at the same scale as any cloud ready application, it should be to host workloads on the cloud at limitless scale. This means the solution protecting these workloads should be able to scale up, down and across multiple regions dynamically. Unlike most, if not all, typical on-prem backup solutions, cloud-scale solutions take a hands-off approach to automatically size themselves based on the size of the environment they are serving.
Anything else defeats the value of cloud scale.
When a data protection solution can be deployed across clouds, no matter how deep customers get with their cloud adoption, they still need to factor in on-prem in some form or fashion typically. In these cases, customers may want to leverage cloud resources purely for backup or DR purposes. In this case, the solution should be able to backup on-prem workloads to cloud storage in an agentless manner with auto-tiering. Also, in this use case, the solution should provide smooth failover and failback capabilities between on-prem and cloud environments.
Anything else defeats hybrid cloud usefulness.
Proactive customer support
When a data protection solution is cloud-native, like most applications, it means knowing that you are protected and safe. Customers hosting workloads on the cloud know that they are relinquishing some control over their environment. It is important for as-a-service, cloud-native solutions to be able to deliver round-the-clock proactive customer support. This means support that can identify and resolve problems in many cases even before the customer is actually aware of them.
Anything else defeats the cloud-native customer support experience.